Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a 'Janata curfew' today (March 22), the nation is set to observe an unprecedented shutdown on Sunday, from 7 am to 9 pm. The initiative was taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a toll over the world. In his appeal to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to voluntarily stay indoors to contain the spread of coronavirus. To this cause, public transport will be suspended or curtailed and all markets and establishments except those dealing in essential goods and services will be closed today.
Cutting across party lines, chief ministers and others leaders urged the people to follow the self-imposed curfew from 7 am to 9 pm, noting that "social distancing" was key to breaking the chain of transmission, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 315 as on Saturday.
Janata Curfew: Transportation to remain suspended across states
No passenger trains will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday while all suburban train services will be reduced to a bare minimum as well.
Metro services, including in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, will remain suspended for the day.
Air carriers like GoAir, IndiGo and Vistara have announced that they will be curtailing domestic operations on Sunday.
Traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has announced that they will keep their establishments shut across the country for the 'Janata curfew'.
From suspending regular prayers involving large gatherings in shrines of various faiths, including Sunday mass, to disallowing jail inmates from meeting their families on the day, organisations and institutions in every sphere have announced restrictions.
No citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of their houses, and asserted that it will be a litmus test to show India's readiness to take on the coronavirus challenge, PM Narendra Modi had said.
In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said 50 per cent of the buses will ply on roads on Sunday considering some people may have to travel due to an emergency.
Autos and taxis will, however, be off roads in the national capital as several unions including the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh, Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, Delhi Auto Taxi Transport Congress Union and Delhi Taxi Tourist Transport Association, have decided to join the 'Janata curfew'.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath appealed to the people of the state to stay indoors on Sunday.
"Metro trains, roadways buses and city buses will not operate on Sunday," the statement said on behalf of the chief minister.
Leaders and other prominent personalities also urged the traders not to hoard essential items and the people to purchase only necessary things.
The Bihar government ordered shutting down of bus services, restaurants and banquet halls across the state till March 31.
All schools and malls are already closed in the state.
The voluntary curfew should not be seen as a burden, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said.
Except for emergency services, including medical, fire services and electricity, others should close down voluntarily and people should stay at home for 24 hours in the interest of their own families, state, country and humanity, he said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan too asked the people of the state to cooperate with the 'Janata curfew' and engage in cleaning their home and surroundings.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council had decided to stop holy mass with people's participation in Churches under its control.
In Delhi too, St Peter's Mar Thomas Syrian Church, Patparganj and Cathedral Church of Redemption in central Delhi have cancelled Sunday mass and all services for next week, sources said.
Prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh said it will remain closed on March 22 and asked its students not to venture outside.
The Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board announced the suspension of regular prayers at mosques and shrines affiliated to it in the Kashmir valley as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
How India came forward to support Janata Curfew
Meanwhile, on Saturday, locals in Noida area of Uttar Pradesh were seen supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cause to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. In many areas of Noida, people were seen clapping, clamping utensils and blowing shankh, as a mark of salute to those who have been working for the nation even at such distress times.
Videos of locals rejoicing and thanking those on duty were posted on social media.
#JantaCurfewMarch22— Vani Mehrotra (@vani_mehrotra) March 21, 2020
A day ahead of #janta_curfew, Noida Sector 120 locals show spirit of solidarity and support PM @narendramodi's initiative of clapping, clamping utensils, blowing shankh.
Moment of unity amid #CoronavirusPandemic pic.twitter.com/J86wf5a9qR
Deal with people politely if they come out of homes during 'Janata curfew': UP DGP
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police HC Awasthi on Saturday directed officials to deal politely with people in case they come out of their homes during 'Janata curfew' on Sunday.
In his directives to police officials, Awasthi said, "Crowd should not be allowed to gather during 'Janta Curfew'. However, in case due to any reason, a situation arises that crowd gathers, then an appeal should be made and they should be politely urged to go back to their houses. The police should tell people about the importance of the Janata Curfew."
He also asked officials to ensure that masks, gloves and sanitisers are made available to police personnel on patrolling duty.