India has invoked Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, to ensure that people don't venture out during the lockdown and to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Indians violating section 144 can be arrested and detained by the police. However, the government hasn't authorized the police to use force to impose the lockdown.
Over the past week, several politicians, celebrities and journalists have highlighted police violence against migrant workers who are venturing out during the lockdown. The measures have forced migrant laborers to travel back to their homes on foot after losing their jobs in urban areas.
Numerous reports have emerged of police targeting people venturing out to buy essential goods or working in essential services such as medicine. Officers have reportedly beaten people with sticks and in certain instances, forced them to crawl or do pushups.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said sorry to Indians for his 21-day coronavirus lockdown, saying it is harsh but necessary to beat the pandemic. His words come amid shocking images of police violently enforcing the restrictions, which came into effect Wednesday with just four hours' notice.