As many as 21 out of 37 states and Union Territories of India have imposed curfews or complete lockdown orders ever since a directive given by the Centre on Sunday evening to take steps to contain the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
The states and Union Territories that have ordered a complete lockdown are: Haryana, Delhi, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Ladakh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Bihar, Tripura, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, Punjab, Maharashtra and the Union Territory of Chandigarh imposed curfews, a measure more stringent than a lockdown.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar extended the partial lockdown in the state to all districts, The Indian Express reported. The lockdown will take effect from Tuesday morning, he said. The chief minister added that the lockdown will remain in place till necessary.
“All state-borders shall be shut till further orders,” Khattar said. “The entire interstate bus service has been shut down. Anybody violating the government’s instructions shall be dealt with sternly. Legal action under Section 188 IPC shall be taken against the violators.” Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code deals with disobedience of an order duly promulgated by a public servant.
The Manipur government of N Biren Singh also announced a lockdown until March 31, PTI reported. The state cabinet also decided to set up isolation wards at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences. Essential services will be excluded from the purview of the lockdown.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was forced to take the extreme measure of imposing a curfew in the interest of the state. A senior government official said the curfew was imposed as people were still coming out in large numbers. Reports in the morning from several places, including Amritsar, Moga and Ludhiana, said people were assembling at markets despite the lockdown order.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on the other hand, said that the curfew was imposed because people did not pay heed to lockdown orders.
Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator VP Singh Badnore said the curfew will be imposed from midnight on Monday. No person will be allowed on the streets.
In West Bengal, a lockdown in various parts, including Kolkata, began at 5 pm. The lockdown will last until March 27.
Earlier on Monday, the Centre had asked state governments to be strict in enforcing the lockdown and take legal action against those who violate it. Several states have imposed curfews to contain spread of the highly-contagious disease that has infected 415 people in the country and killed seven.
“States have been asked to strictly enforce lockdown and take legal action against violators,” a note from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting read.
The Centre’s notice came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter that people were not taking the lockdown seriously. “Please save yourself by doing this, save your family, follow the instructions seriously,” he urged people. “I request the state governments to get the rules and laws followed.”
The Bengaluru Police on Monday said that it will arrest people found to be breaking quarantine rules. The police said that they had received information that people with “home quarantine” stamps were travelling in buses and visiting restaurants.
The Centre on Sunday advised state governments to allow only essential services to operate in around 80 districts of India that have reported confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. This amounts to a lockdown for the districts as no trains, metros and interstate buses will be allowed to operate from Monday till March 31.
The decision to impose the lockdown came after the nation observed a ‘janata curfew’ or a civil curfew called by Modi on Sunday. Millions of citizens across India stayed at home, following the prime minister’s appeal to isolate themselves between 7 am and 9 pm to contain the spread of coronavirus.