Lockdown: PM seeks forgiveness over ‘tough decisions’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought the nation's forgiveness for imposing a monumental lockdown on the country, saying it was a question of life and death and expressed confidence that "we will definitely win the battle" against the coronavirus menace that has claimed 25 lives in India so far.

In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address to the nation, Modi also praised the front-line workers in the fight against the virus as well as countless workers in the essential services who are ensuring the country doesn't come to a complete standstill in the 21-day lockdown announced on March 24.

"I seek forgiveness ... I strongly feel, you will forgive me. When I see my poor brothers and sisters, then I definitely feel that they would say what kind of prime minister is this who has put us in this trouble. I specially seek their forgiveness. You had to undergo problems. I understand but there is no other way out to fight the coronavirus for a country with a population of 130 crore," he said. "But this is a battle for life and death."

According to the Health Ministry Update released an hour before Modi's address, India has recorded a total of 979 cases and 25 deaths so far.

The prime minister said looking at what the world is going through, this (lockdown) was the "only way left." "After all, the safety of you and your families has to be ensured. Once again, I apologise for any inconvenience, any hardship caused to you," he said.

He also described as "unfortunate" incidents where some of those suspected coronavirus carriers under home quarantine are being ill-treated or ostracised by others.

Modi also referred to "daily life heroes" who are helping people run their daily lives smoothly. These include plumbers, electricians, grocery shop owners, e commerce delivery personnel and those maintaining telecom and internet services. He said India has been able to fight a battle on such a massive scale, only due to the zeal and grit of front-line warriors such as doctor, nurses, para-medic personnel, Aasha and Anganwadi workers and sanitation staff.

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