A day after tens of thousands of people thronged bus terminals in the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized to citizens for putting them into unprecedented inconveniences, but also warned that people who are flouting the lockdown are playing with everyone’s lives.
“I know that you have been put into massive inconveniences, especially my less fortunate brothers and sisters,” Modi said in his weekly radio address – Mann Ki Baat (‘What’s on my mind’).
“I am sure they think, how can the prime minister do this to us. I want to apologize especially to such people.
“Possibly, many of you are angry with me. I can understand your problems, but there was no other way to save a country like India, with 130 cr people, from Coronavirus.
“This is a fight between life and death, and we must win this. That is why we had to take such strong steps. No one likes to take such steps. But looking at the condition of the world, I felt that this was the only way.”
NO FLOUTING OF RULES PLEASE
Modi also noted cases of violations of the lockdown.
“I know people don’t want to break laws, but some are doing so. This is because they don’t understand the seriousness of the situation. They should remember that if the lockdown rules are broken, it will be impossible to escape the virus.
“Many people around the world were under similar illusions. Today, they are repenting… People who are breaking the law are taking a big risk with their lives.”
He also said people will have to remain indoors for several more days.
The comments come a day after tens of thousands of people thronged an inter-state bus terminal in Delhi in an effort to catch buses towards Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — two states that contribute the majority of casual workers in the National Capital Region.
This followed a resumption of bus services by the Uttar Pradesh government yesterday, after reports that hundreds of people were setting off on a multi-day journey on foot to their hometowns.
On Wednesday and Thursday, many people who work in Delhi had decided to walk back to their hometowns on concerns that the current lockdown may be extended to 1 or 2 months.
Even though motivated by humanitarian concerns, the resumption of bus services has been a severe setback to early efforts to prevent the virus from spreading to remote regions in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Modi also urged citizens not to boycott those who are fighting against the virus, in an apparent reference to reports of doctors, nurses and hospital staff being boycotted or even asked to vacate rental accommodations.