Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today made an announcement following the hostage situation at Omicron’s office in Dwarka. The CM said that every citizen will have to wear a mask over their mouth or be heavily penalized with Rs 2000 or even more for not wearing one within 10 days. As per the announcement, police inspectors will start patrolling with masks soon, so as to dispense them to anyone who needs one without charge.
“I am sorry to say that we don’t have enough masks at this point. However, after 3 days, we will have masks readily available and all citizens will have to wear them or face a hefty penalty,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a press conference.
The announcement has caught many by surprise, as people are still trying to find out what happened at Omicron recently and if it is safe to go outside without a mask. Mr. Kejriwal said that if you don’t have a mask, you can get them from the local ‘parchi’ or ration dealer for free and also announced that private hospitals would be penalized heavily for not providing masks to their patients and attendants who are inside the hospital premises.
“All hospitals are required to have masks inside their premises and provide them to patients as well as their attendants. If they don’t, they will be heavily penalized.” Mr. Kejriwal said while emphasizing that the government is doing everything possible to ensure the well-being of its citizens.
Omicron Biotechnology is located in a block of apartments in Dwarka Sector 10 and an unknown threat has been detected inside its office. The situation turned violent yesterday night when Omicron employees attempted to escape from their office after a gas leak. However, dozens were taken hostage by an unknown armed extremist group and all access to the building has been completely blocked since then by Delhi Police.
“This is a serious threat to the safety of all citizens in Delhi,” Mr. Kejriwal said, adding that the government’s job can’t be done without the people’s help as it needs their support.
Questions have also been raised over the current level of security inside Delhi Police and how they could have failed to take any action to maintain peace in such a situation. The CM said that “The government has done everything possible and more to ensure the safety of its citizens. The Delhi Police will be heavily penalized until they show results.”
Mr. Kejriwal added that “the government will release more information to the public after the situation is brought under control. Meanwhile, citizens are requested to stay indoors and wear a mask over their mouths. Please be assured that everything is being done to ensure your safety and well-being.”
CM Arvind Kejriwal was also questioned about the presence of his Deputy, Manish Sisodia at Omicron’s office on the day of the incident. Mr. Sisodia has been seen interacting with police officials outside the building’s premises multiple times within the last two hours. He then clarified that Mr. Sisodia was only coordinating with Delhi Police, which in turn is working with the centre to end this hostage crisis as soon as possible.
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“We are constantly coordinating with the centre and the Delhi police to bring this hostage situation under control as quickly as possible,” Mr. Sisodia said.
In response to a question over whether there will be some changes in traffic regulations in the city or private hospitals may have to increase their charges for attending to Omicron Biotechnology employees, Mr. Kejriwal clarified that “these things will be decided by the government after coming to terms with all stakeholders.”
“The purpose of my press conference is about making people aware of this serious crisis and giving them enough time to get themselves protected,” Mr. Kejriwal said, adding that he will make another announcement once more information is made available.
After the press conference, Mr. Kejriwal has moved the Delhi Assembly to limit and reduce corruption in all departments and assure citizens’ safety.