Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday apologised to Indians whose lives had been disrupted by the lockdown but said the step was necessary to battle coronavirus.
Speaking to the nation via Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi said, “I apologise for taking these harsh steps which have caused difficulties in your lives, especially the poor. I know some of you would be angry with me also. But these tough measures were needed to win this battle”.
“The battle against COVID-19 is a tough one and it required such harsh decisions. It is important to keep the people of India safe,” he added.
The PM explained the danger coronavirus poses to humanity. “Coronavirus is posing a challenge to knowledge, science, rich-poor, strong-weak alike. It is neither confined to any nation’s borders nor does it make the distinction of region or season,” he said.
“Coronavirus is bent on killing people therefore entire humanity must unite and resolve to eliminate it,” PM Modi added.
In his address, PM Modi urged Indians to show courage and resolve, follow “Lakshman Rekha” for several days more.
In his monthly radio address to the nation, PM Modi also praised the front-line workers in the fight against the virus as well as countless workers in the essential services who are ensuring the country doesn’t come to a complete standstill in the 21-day lockdown announced on March 24.
Modi’s address came as the imposition of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown has left lakhs of migrant workers with no means to earn a living, forcing them to undertake long journeys on foot to their far-flung homes in the absence of any means of transport.
Economists and activists have called the lockdown a “national emergency” which has put lakhs of people in danger of perishing in hunger and trauma and have appealed for an immediate response to the humanitarian crisis, to prevent it from snowballing further.
The lockdown has also left many bereft of essential commodities as police across the country crackdown on those venturing out to procure medicines or groceries. Disruptions in the supply chain have been reported from across the country. Farmers, who are in peak produce season, are pleading governments to buy their produce as they risk facing huge losses due to the closure of grain markets.