Seeking “forgiveness” for the inconvenience caused to people by an unprecedented 21-day nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said “there was no other way to wage a war against Corona,” even though he understood the public’s troubles.
“I had to take certain decisions which have put you in a lot of difficulties. Especially, when I look at my poor brothers and sisters, I definitely feel they must be thinking what kind of Prime Minister is this, who has placed us in this difficulty. Possibly, many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes.,” the PM said.
Follow coronavirus India March 29 latest updates here
An unprecedented mass migration of laborers and daily wagers from the country’s urban centers to their rural hometowns has put State governments and the Centre in frantic movement to either convince the migrants to stay back in cities like Delhi or facilitate a safe journey home that doesn’t lead to more potential virus spreading.
“We should be more sensitive towards the poor. Our humanity lies in the fact that we should feed the poor first in this time of difficulty. India can do this. This is our culture.”
The Prime Minister said that this worldwide challenge does not consider region or weather.
“For a country the size of India, we need strong measures,” Modi said. “Nobody likes to take such strong measures but it is the only option, seeing other countries and learning that the disease must be dealt with at the beginning before it becomes incurable.”
“This lockdown is for your own protection,” he said. “Those who are breaking the law are actually playing with their lives.”
The PM was also disdainful of those who are “misbehaving with people who are home quarantined or have tested positive.”
“We have to keep social distance, not emotional and human distance. Such people are not criminals … They have quarantined themselves to save others from infection (and) taking double precaution … When people are taking responsibility themselves, behaving badly with them is not justified. Instead, they should be shown sympathy and cooperation. … Social distancing doesn’t mean stopping social interaction.”
Modi expressed gratitude for “warriors” and “soldiers” such as frontline healthcare and sanitation workers, promising health insurance of Rs 50 lakh for around 20 lakh such people.
He similarly applauded the work of small shopkeepers, drivers, bank workers, e-commerce delivery persons, and IT professionals keeping the Internet running who are putting themselves at risk to make essential services available.
Modi suggested not to “go out, but look within yourself. Try to know yourself.” He included the perspectives of those who have recovered from the virus and doctors, and recommended picking up new hobbies.
“Today, every Indian is staying inside their home to save lives. But in the coming time, this Indian will break all barriers for his country’s development. Maan Ki Baat ke liye phir agle mahine milenge aur tab thak sankaton ko mahat karne me safal ho bhi jayenge. (We will meet for Mann Ki Baat once again next month and by then, we would have won the war against Corona),” he concluded.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines