It was 9 pm and there was complete silence on the road due to the lockdown. There weren't even any animals around, let alone human beings. Only some policemen were on duty in Kashiadanga in Rajshahi city on Sunday night in this creepy silence.
After a while, the headlights of a car became visible. The car stopped at Kashiadanga check-post and asked the policemen how many of them were on duty. The people in the car gave 11 packets of food to the policemen and left.
There were no government or police personnel in the car. Three friends have taken an initiative and have been providing food to on-duty policemen for the last one week.
The three youths are Hasibul Alam Shaon from the city's Padma residential area, Kamal Hossain from Shoshthitala, and Rasel from Tika Para.
Hasibul is a businessman, Kamal works for a private company and Rasel is a lecturer at Rajshahi Government Girls College. All of them passed the HSC in 1994 and they have an organisation named RC-94.
Hasibul said, "We have been distributing relief to 1,000 families of poor labourers and low-income people since April 2. And, since last week, we have been providing food to policemen. We want to continue doing this until the end of Ramadan."
"All the restaurants are closed due to the lockdown, and on-duty policemen cannot return home before 10 am. They have to starve for a long time, which is difficult. We have tried to include as much protein as we can in the packets," he added.
The items in the packet include water, pasteurised milk, eggs, banana, bread and biscuits, he said further.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Ataur Rahman said, "We are on duty at Kashiadanga check post from 2 pm to 11 pm. Usually, we bring iftar from home. Before the lockdown, we could get food from the shops, however, at present we are in trouble as all the shops are closed. Those three youths have been giving us food."
Sub-Inspector Monirul Islam, in-charge of Bose Para Police Outpost, who was in charge of patrol police on Sunday, said the patrol police is on duty from 8 am to 8 pm. Five of us were on duty on Sunday night. Three youths came and gave us food.
"The three of us go out with food around 8 pm every day. At first, we go to Kashiadanga check post where there are 12-14 policemen. Then we go to the Noudapara intersection check post, Katakhali check post, Talaimari check post, and Laxipur police box. At last, we give food to the patrol policemen," said Kamal Hossain, one of the three youths.
Nibaran Chandra Barman, the officer-in-charge of Boalia Police Station, said he has heard that three youths give food to the policemen on duty.
The additional deputy commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, Golam Ruhul Kuddus, said, "The policemen at the check posts work nine hours at night and patrol police work for 12 hours. There is no way to leave the work station during duty time."
In the past, shops were open and they could get food. However, at present, we have kept all the shops closed, but policemen are suffering the most.