Police will be strictly enforcing restrictions on people's movement before, during, and after the upcoming Eid holidays to contain the spread of Covid-19.
To this end, at least 53 check posts will be set up on three different highways and at the entry and exit points of the Dhaka city.
Passenger transportation on the ferry has also been cancelled in at least three terminals as per police instructions. These ferries will carry only necessary goods during this time, said Mollik Fakhrul Islam, additional inspector general of police (highway).
The police headquarters and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) have already instructed the officers concerned to go hard to tackle the influx centring Eid. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benzir Ahmed gave necessary instructions to all unit heads through videoconferencing on May 16.
Mir Sohel Rana, assistant inspector general of police at the police headquarters, said police will go tough on anyone who will violate the instructions this time.
"People have seen the gentle face of police during the coronavirus crisis, but if someone wants to leave Dhaka to observe Eid violating instructions police will go hard on them this time," he added.
Police headquarters sources said the government wants to strictly implement the lockdown before and after the Eid holidays. "In this case, the government is thinking of lockdown in curfew model," said a deputy inspector general of police at police headquarters.
"The high-ups of the government are in favour of maintaining strict restrictions on people's movement," he added.
DMP Additional Commissioner (crime and operations) Mir Rezaul Alam told The Business Standard, "Measures have been taken to ensure that no one can leave or enter Dhaka.
"It is a tradition that people go to their native homes to celebrate Eid festivals with their relatives, but this time there is a government ban on such movements. And, we will enforce the restriction. We hope no one will come out of their homes unless there is an emergency. However, vehicles carrying emergency goods will be able to move."
Jisan Haque, additional superintendent of Highway Police said they have set up at least three heavy check posts in the Kachpur to Meghna Bridge portion of the Dhaka-Chattogram highway and another three on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway.
"Additional forces have been deployed on highways and we are strictly monitoring traffic movement through close circuit cameras."
"Do not think police will let you go with a smile this time," he warned, adding that they have sent back at least six thousand private vehicles in the last three days.
Ibrahim Akbar, a private sector employee, told The Business Standard that he was sent back from Sayedabad area in the city while he was trying to go to Lakshmipur.
"Situation has changed. Policemen are strictly checking at the exit points of Dhaka," he added.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police has taken proactive measures to prevent people from returning home from Dhaka. All the crime and traffic divisions of the DMP have already been given necessary instructions in this regard. Till Monday, 10-12 check posts have been set up at various important entrances and exit points of Dhaka city. Security has also been beefed up.
This correspondent also went through such a strict checking at Gabtoli.
Hundreds of vehicles were stuck yesterday in front of the check posts.
Mizanur Rahman, assistant commissioner of Darus Salam zone of the DMP said no one would go outside Dhaka through Gabtoli without having a valid reason or showing proper documents.
Khulna Range DIG D Khandoker Mohid Uddin told, "No vehicles will be allowed on the road on the occasion of Eid. All necessary initiatives have been taken, including setting up of check posts. Ordinary people now know about the horrors of coronavirus. I hope they will not come out on their own."
However, in the last two days, many people were seen leaving Dhaka after crossing Mawa Ghat. They have primarily chosen the ferry as the means of transportation. These people also were seen caring little about maintaining social distancing during their journey.
However, multiple sources with police said there is no chance to use the ferry in this way.
Asked about this, Additional DIG (administration) of Dhaka Range of police Ashrafuzzaman said, "Today, progeny instructions have been given to the district police superintendents in this regard. Besides, instructions have also been given to stop passenger movement on ferries. I hope ferry services for carrying passengers will be closed till further notice."
Madaripur police superintendent confirmed The Business Standard about the closure of ferry services.
Earlier on May 16, IGP Dr Benazir Ahmed said, "Many people have left for their village homes on the occasion of Eid and to celebrate the extended holiday announced by the government.
"This cannot be allowed to happen. All instructions given by the prime minister for the overall welfare of the people have to be followed properly."
He called upon the common people to abide by the government instructions.