The country is in a 21-day lockdown to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease Covid-19.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged people to “challenge the darkness” of the coronavirus by lighting a lamp, torch or mobile flashlight on Sunday.
“This Sunday, April 5, we will challenge the darkness of coronavirus threat together. On April 5, at 9 pm, I need your nine minutes. At 9 pm, turn off all the lights in your houses and light a diya (lamp), candle, torch or flashlight for nine minutes at your doors, or balcony,” PM Modi said in a video message.
The Prime Minister, however, said that social distancing should be followed and people should not form groups while lighting the lamps. He also urged people to stay indoors.
He had asked people to take the measures put in place by the government seriously after violations during the Janta Curfew. Many people had come out on the roads during the self-imposed curfew on March 22.
In Nagpur, the police took action against 878 persons for various violations. The owners of 35 establishments were booked for keeping them open despite lockdown orders, police said.
There were reports of violation from Hyderabad too. “Some people are coming to see how the city looks. This is not good. They should remain in their homes and spend time creatively with their families,” Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar said on Sunday.
A few cars and taxis were seen on roads in some cities in West Bengal.
The Prime Minister had asked people to thank those at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 – like doctors, nurses etc – by either clapping or ringing bells. But videos circulated on social media platforms showed people using the opportunity to come out in groups and following PM Modi’s advice, thereby clearly violating the principle of social distancing.