Rajat Sharma

Time to make appeals to follow lockdown is over, now take action against violators

akb0210India recorded over 500 new Coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours, taking the number of COVID-19 cases to 5,865 with the death toll at 169. Despite the three-week lockdown in force across the country, the figures are spiralling mainly because people are still not following lockdown and social distancing norms. Added to this is the virus spread caused by Tablighi Jamaat workers.

On Thursday night in ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, India TV showed Delhi Police drone surveillance video about how youths in Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid locality are playing cricket on roads and then hiding inside their homes after listening to the police siren. In Bhandup locality of Mumbai, there were large crowds of people seen buying fruits and vegetables throwing social distancing norms to the wind. The scenes were similar in Kolkata’s Koley market and Raja Bazar and in Punjab’s Bathinda refinery vegetable market.

There was most disturbing news from UP. In Baghpat and Badaut, declared hot spots by the state authorities , there was no sign of sealing and people were seen openly moving around without masks and going to shops and markets on Thursday.

These visuals clearly show that people in metros and in Tier-II and Tier-III cities are still not observing lockdown norms by staying inside their homes. They are helping in the spread of Coronavirus.

Remember, people in Italy, Spain and USA did the same thing till last month, they walked in crowds, went to late night bars and gatherings, and totally defied social distancing norms. Today these three nations are on top of the list of countries hit by Coronavirus. The number of people dying of virus in these countries is going up almost every day.

People, by and large, in India are following lockdown norms and staying inside their homes. There are however exceptions in some places, where people still refuse to observe lockdown. Those defying lockdown and social distancing norms are posing a risk to all of us.

India TV showed exclusive video of Tablighi Jamaat members inside their isolation ward in Delhi’s Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, now dedicated for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The doctor in-charge complained that Jamaat members were still offering namaaz prayers inside their ward by sitting together and they were not following social distancing norms. When asked, the Jamaat members said, namaaz is always offered by sitting together and not by keeping distance.

There is no dearth of government’s preparedness in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading from the front and is working round-the-clock on a war footing. All state governments are fully cooperating in this national endeavor, doctors and nursing staff are working with dedication, police are maintaining full vigil and are providing food to the needy. There are police stations, where policewomen are cooking ‘roti’ for the poor.

Ninety-nine per cent of Indians are with the government’s mission to enforce lockdown. Other countries have praised India for enforcing a timely lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. However, there are people in India who are unwilling to follow lockdown norms. The time to make appeals to follow lockdown is over, now is the time to take action against all those who flout lockdown rules.

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