Four weeks after the sounds of bells, conches and claps echoed across the country; the nation came forward to support the inspiring call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by lighting diyas and “challenging the darkness” of novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
On April 5, Indians turned off their lights for a nationwide candle-lit vigil, observing a call for unity as the nation fights coronavirus.
PM Modi had asked India’s 1.37 billion citizens to observe nine minutes without electricity at 9 PM.
He had urged the citizens to show the ” solidarity and confidence in our collective fight against COVID-19″ by lighting candles and lamps.
The population of the nation responded to his call by lighting up the night sky in a show of unity.
PM Modi at the time of vigil tweeted “Salute to the light of the lamp which brings auspiciousness, health and prosperity, which destroys negative feelings.”
However, critics have dismissed the event stating it as a publicity stunt, claiming it is merely a distraction from the health and economic crisis the nation is going through caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
PM Modi announced a nationwide lockdown on March 25, along with a few warning, leaving millions stranded, without food and jobless.
As part of lockdown measures, only essential goods stores are allowed to operate, and almost all public gathering are barred.
However, the lockdown sparked a flight from major cities such as Delhi, forcing thousands of migrant labourers to walk hundreds of kilometres to their native villages.
Last week, PM Modi apologised to the nation for the impact of the stringent stay-at-home measures, stating there was “no other way” to combat the virus.
As per the latest figure from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are more than 3,600 positive cases and around 110 deaths across the nation.
Experts think that the severity will increase in the upcoming days as India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. Nonetheless, efforts are underway to heighten the capacity.
There are fears that a major outbreak in the country – one of the world’s most densely and second highly populated nation – could end in a humanitarian catastrophe.
Though PM Modi had announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, officials now say that it could extend in certain parts of the nation.