Haryana Director General of Police Manoj Yadava on Sunday evening issued a notification that large indoor stadiums in the state could be converted into “temporary jails” for those who violate the lockdown, NDTV reported. The lockdown was imposed nationwide for a three-week period from March 25 to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The decision came after a meeting between the chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi to discuss the problem of exodus of migrant workers following the lockdown. The states were concerned about the possible spread of the virus as migrant labourers have attempted to travel – with many even walking – hundreds of kilometres to reach their homes. On Sunday, the Centre issued a directive to all states banning inter-state and inter-city movement of people.
“As of now we are not setting up temporary jails in Haryana,” Yadava said. “It is just a provision in the long run. We are now convincing labourers to stay in relief camps.”
Hundreds of people have been arrested and many more first information reports filed in several states over the last few days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Sunday apologised to Indians for the hardships they were enduring due to the lockdown. “Especially, the poor must be thinking, what kind of prime minister is this, that he put us into such difficulty?” Modi said. “I especially ask for their forgiveness.”
The prime minister said the people of the country will have to endure the present state of affairs for several days. He added that some people erroneously believe they are protecting others by following the regulations during the lockdown, but that the restrictions are for one’s own protection, and for that of one’s family.
At least 1,071 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in India and 29 have died, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Monday morning.