Rediff.com  » News » PIX: India observes Janta curfew, PM says long battle ahead

PIX: India observes Janta curfew, PM says long battle ahead

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: March 23, 2020 00:09 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Millions of people across the country stayed indoors on Sunday in an unprecedented and overwhelming response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a 'Janta curfew' to help check the spread of coronavirus, coming out briefly at 5 pm to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers with sounds of bells, conches and claps.

IMAGE: Police officials stop commuters during Janta curfew in the wake of deadly coronavirus, in Bhilwara, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

The prime minister thanked the people but said it was the start of a long battle, as he urged them to follow social distancing to stop the chain of transmission of Coronavirus which has infected 360 people and claimed seven lives in India.

IMAGE: Boats are docked at Dashashwamedh Ghat during Janta curfew in Varanasi on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Be it Mumbai, known as the city that never sleeps, Patna or Ahmedabad, life came to a standstill in the country as roads, railway stations and airports wore a deserted look and markets and establishments except those dealing in essential goods and services remained shut during the 14-hour self-imposed curfew that started at 7 am.

IMAGE: A city street wears a deserted look during Janata curfew in Guwahati on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

In the national capital, roads which are usually chock-a-block had only a few private vehicles and buses plying.

IMAGE: A city street wears a deserted look during Janata curfew in Bhopal. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Delhi Police gave flowers to people who stepped out of their homes, requesting them to stay indoors. In some parts, policemen also handed out masks and sanitisers to spread awareness about coronavirus.

IMAGE: A city market wears a deserted look in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

As the clock struck 5, the air reverberated with a medley of sounds from bells, conches and beating of metal plates, with people coming out in balconies, lawns and terrace of their homes to express appreciation for medical and other staff who are on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus.

IMAGE: Marina beach wears a deserted look during Janata curfew in Chennai. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo

From children to the elderly, common people to VIPs, residents of metropolitan cities to villages, all responded to Prime Minister Modi's appeal to show gratitude to doctors, paramedics, police and other personnel associated with essential services.

IMAGE: Trains stand parked at a deserted railway station during Janata curfew, in Guwahati, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Many took positions with their choice of instruments, including metal plates or whatever kitchen utensils they could get, while some played the sounds of conches and bells on their phones and music systems. Police sirens too also heard.

IMAGE: A city street wears a deserted look during Janata curfew in Shimla. Photograph: PTI Photo

People also shared videos on social media on the response of residents in their areas.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said it is an expression of gratitude by the people and also the sound of the bugle declaring the long battle ahead.

IMAGE: Roads along Eastern Highway wear a deserted look during Janata curfew in, Mumbai, on Sunday. Photograph: Kunal Patil/ PTI Photo

'With this resolve and patience, let's restrict (social distancing) ourselves,' Modi tweeted in Hindi with the hashtag 'Jantacurfew'.

'Today's Janta Curfew may end at 9.00 pm, but this does not mean we start celebrating... it is the beginning of a long battle. Today countrymen have told that we are capable, and once we decide we can take on any challenge together,' he said in a series of tweets.

IMAGE: Bandra- Worli Sea Link road wears a deserted look during Janata curfew, in Mumbai. Photograph: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo

He urged the people living in areas which are under lockdown not to venture out of their houses.

IMAGE: Passengers board a crowded bus during Janata curfew, in Patna, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

By evening, authorities announced a slew of extraordinary restrictions including suspension of all interstate-buses, passenger trains and metro services in the country, while 80 districts in 17 states, and five Union Territories including Delhi where coronavirus cases have been reported were locked down.

IMAGE: Deserted Golden Temple during Janata curfew, in Amritsar, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the lockdown in Delhi will be from March 23 on March 31.

Commercial capital Mumbai, which is not new to natural and man-made disasters, observed a shutdown on Sunday unlike any.

IMAGE: Women hold placards during a sit-in protest against CAA, NRC and NPR and in support of Janta curfew, at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo

The iconic Gateway of India, Juhu beach and the Bandra-Worli sealink, which are otherwise always bustling with activity, wore a desolate look.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and other suburban train stations presented an uncommon sight of being empty as people stayed indoors to support the curfew.

IMAGE: A deserted view of Har Ki Pauri during Janta curfew, in Haridwar. Photograph: PTI Photo

Key market places in Fort, Dadar, Andheri, Borivali, Ghatkopar, Bandra-Kurla Complex and other areas were also empty as the city intensified its fight against the deadly virus by staying away from public places.

The Goa Church and others cancelled Sunday masses. Prominent temples were also shut while community prayers were suspended by almost all major shrines of various faiths.

IMAGE: A traffic policeman holds a placard urging citizens to stay at home as an old lady walks on a deserted street, during Janta curfew, in Hyderabad. Photograph: PTI Photo

Most of the gated-colonies and apartments in cities were locked from inside, while civic bodies took up the job of sanitising public places such as parks and bus stands.

In Kolkata, the usually crowded Esplanade, and Dalhousie areas, besides airport and railway stations were nearly empty.

IMAGE: Burma Bazaar is closed during Janta Curfew in Chennai. Photograph: PTI Photo

Roads, railway stations and airports in Gujarat's four major cities -- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot -- had very few people.

In Tamil Nadu, arterial roads, including the Anna Salai and the GST Road in Chennai and vital junctions like the Kathipara grade separator which are usually teeming with vehicles and people were empty. The iconic Marina and Elliots beach were also deserted.

IMAGE: A street is seen deserted during Janta Curfew in Ayodhya, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Cutting across party lines, chief ministers and others leaders had urged the people to follow the self-imposed curfew and thanked them for their cooperation.

IMAGE: Family members carry a patient on a hand cart on their way to hospital during Janta curfew in Mirzapur. Photograph: PTI Photo

No passenger train from any railway station in the country originated beginning Saturday night and metro services, including in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, were suspended for the curfew.

IMAGE: A police official stands in front of the illuminated Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) building during Janta curfew in Mumbai. Photograph: Mitesh Bhuvad/PTI Photo

Air carriers like GoAir, IndiGo and Vistara had curtailed domestic operations and traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had announced that they will keep their establishments shut across the country on Sunday.

IMAGE: A guard relaxes outside Red Fort during Janta curfew in, New Delhi, on Sunday. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo

Modi had on Thursday called for the voluntary 'Janta curfew', saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of their houses, and asserted that it will be a litmus test to show India's readiness to take on the coronavirus challenge.

IMAGE: Local train being halted for long time due to minimal train services at Ballygunge Railway junction station during Janta Curfew in Kolkata. Photograph: PTI Photo

Ahead of the start of the curfew, he said this morning, 'In a few minutes from now, the #JantaCurfew commences. Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace.'

IMAGE: A deserted view of Connaught Place during Janta Curfew, in New Delhi, on Sunday. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

He said the steps to be taken now will help in the times to come.

'Stay indoors and stay healthy,' he said on Twitter.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
SHARE THIS STORY