Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi twice apologized on Sunday for the 21-day national blockade that had bothered people, but said tough decisions were needed to “nip the disease in the bud”. He called on people to maintain social distance and not to break the lock when leaving their homes.
In his speech to Mann ki Baat, Modi said that people might wonder why the Prime Minister “got everyone in trouble”, but stressed that there was no other option than to blockage to fight against contagion in a country of 1.3 billion inhabitants. He said the battle was between life and death, given what countries around the world are going through, and that is why such strong steps have been taken.
Modi stated that he sincerely apologizes to all Indians and said that he deeply feels from the heart that the people will forgive him because he had to make certain decisions which could have caused difficulties for the people .
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The Prime Minister did not specifically mention the countless migrants who, in the past five days, have queued to hail buses, or even pedaled or traveled hundreds of kilometers, in order to reach their homes after having announced Tuesday’s midnight lock. Modi, however, said he understood what the poor had to live with.
Quoting a Sanskrit saying, “evam evam vikar, api tarunha saadhyate sukham”, that is to say “a disease and its scourge must be nipped in the bud itself”, said the Prime Minister when a disease becomes incurable, treating it is difficult.
Perhaps referring to those who try to get home from big cities to small towns and villages, or who still do not follow precautions, the Prime Minister said that those who violated the lockdown did not understand the seriousness of the challenge .
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“Everyone has to protect themselves and their family and for the next few days they have to respect the Lakshman Rekha. The determination and restraint of each Indian will help deal with the crisis, ”he said.
“Aarogyam param bhagyam, swasthyam sarwaarth sadhanam, who is good health is the greatest fortune,” said the Prime Minister. He said that health is the only way to achieve happiness in the world and that social estrangement is the most effective way to fight Covid-19.
The PM said that people need to understand that in the current situation, we need to ensure social distance, not human or emotional distance.
Modi said it was painful to see that some of the quarantined people were stigmatized and mistreated. He said that social isolation is the most effective way to fight the scourge.
“Our sympathy for the poor should also be much greater. Our humanity comes from the fact that every time we see a poor or hungry person, we first try to feed them in this time of crisis, “he said.
Modi shared her phone conversations with some of the people involved in the fight against the virus, including one who recovered from Covid-19.
Modi said the coronavirus has imprisoned the world. “This poses a challenge to knowledge, science, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak. It is not limited to any national border and makes no distinction of region or season, “he said.
The Prime Minister said that the zeal and commitment of doctors, nurses, paramedics, Asha workers and sanitation workers are helping the country fight infection on such a scale. He said that the country is concerned about their health and that the government has announced about 50 lakh health insurance coverage for them.
He thanked retailers for keeping their stores open, drivers, workers, banking workers, those who work with e-commerce companies, delivery people and everyone who keeps supply chains running, or to ensure that people watch TV without interruption. He asked them to follow the security measures.