The Asian Age

PM calls ‘janata curfew’ across India on Sunday

Urges people not to do panic buying, hoarding after ‘lockdown’ panic; warns don’t take pandemic lightly


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged all citizens to observe a “Janata Curfew” on Sunday, March 22, between 7 am to 9 pm, as part of a social distancing step to prevent the spread of coronaviru­s in India. The PM also urged people to stay indoors as far as possible, work from home and not to indulge in the panic buying or hoarding of food items or other items, saying all essential items will be made available.

Incidental­ly, soon after it was announced Wedneday that the PM would address the nation on Thursday at 8 pm, people rushed to the markets to buy food and other items in panic, assuming that he will

announce a complete lockdown in the country, forcing the Centre to issue an official denial on Thursday afternoon. A lot of regular supplies vanished from the markets as well as online stores.

“There will would not be any shortage of essential items like food, milk, medicines, etc,” Mr Modi said in his address, while urging people to not resort to panic buying.

He requested citizens to follow certain measures to ensure the containmen­t of the fastspread­ing virus and emphasised on the importance of not taking the pandemic lightly, and the need to be aware and proactive about the prevention of Covid-19. He said on the occasion of “Navratra” he was making nine requests to people,

◗ adding the patience and resolve of all Indians was vital to fight against the pandemic, which had wreaked havoc all over the world.

“Follow the concept of Janata Curfew on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm, wherein no one apart from those involved in essential

◗ services is supposed to venture out of home,” said Mr Modi, adding that the success of such a people’s movement and the experience gained from it will prepare India for the challenges ahead. “Our efforts on March 22 will be a symbol of our self-restraint and determinat­ion to perform our duty in the national interest,” he added.

Urging state government­s to take the lead, the PM asked all youth organizati­ons, including the NCC and NSS, as well as civil society to generate awareness among people about the Janata Curfew. He urged everyone to try to inform at least 10 other people over the phone about this self-imposed curfew.

The PM said that on Sunday people should use the opportunit­y to thank the “brave people who are in the forefront of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic like the medical staff, police, government servants, airline staff, mediaperso­ns, bus/ train/auto operators and those involved in providing home delivery” by standing in their balconies or at the doors of their homes and clap or ring bells for five minutes as a show of appreciati­on. He urged local government­s across the nation to indicate the timing through the blaring out of a siren at 5 pm.

The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of following self-imposed norms like “social distancing” and requested citizens to patiently abide by the norms. He underlined the need to isolate oneself and come out of the house only if imperative, while trying to work from home and avoid unnecessar­y travel. He urged that senior citizens above 60 should not come out of their homes for the coming few weeks. Highlighti­ng ■

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