NEW DELHI: The intent was good. Full lockdown was the word. Yet, what was witnessed on Sunday, was a sense of celebration and convivial gathering, making for a waste of what was supposedly a determined national effort to break the transmission of the dreaded coronavirus now sweeping India.In Delhi, the shutdown looked complete through the day, but cracker bursts and people coming together in scores to beat thaalis in housing societies and mohallas frittered away the gains even as many actually organized processions to the burst of crackers as a thanksgiving.
Scenes of people across the country celebrating the occasion made more for a festive atmosphere than the grave reality of a pandemic waiting for a chance to devour millions.The situation left even Prime Minister Narendra Modi aghast. Taking a grim view of the people flouting the lockdown norms, he urged upon the state governments to take strict action to enforce the law.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned of strict action from Monday over violations, while J&K Police took to drones to announce punishment for violations and Punjab, Maharashtra and UT of Chandigarh imposed curfew to keep people off streets.The Sikkim and Himachal governments also enforced lockdown on Monday in face of public violations on March 22, even as Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat went on air to tell people to strictly stay home.
During janata curfew in UP, even the Pilibhit district magistrate Vaibhav Srivastava and SP Abhishek Dixit were seen blowing conches and leading processions even as Gujarat jailed nine for taking out a procession. Bihar failed completely to rein in rural areas where people came out in large numbers in a celebratory mood. Shops were open, traffic was thick and people packed the inside of buses, even their roofs and attended religious congregations.