‘Life-&-death’ matter, apology to countrymen: PM Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the first Mann ki Baat amid the 21-day-long COVID-19 lockdown, on Sunday, March 29.

“Today, there is only one issue that is gripping the world. I apologise to the countrymen and my conscience says you will forgive me.

When I look at the poor people, they must be thinking what kind of the Prime Minister is this who has put you through this hardship. Some of you may be unhappy with the lockdown.

There was only this option. It is a battle for life and death.

Our scriptures say diseases must be controlled before they go out of check. Coronavirus has imprisoned everyone.

It is challenging everyone and everything.

Our scriptures say our good health is our great fortune. Those who are breaking rules are playing with their life.

We have to take inspiration from our frontline soldiers, our nurses and doctors who are battling this coronavirus.”

The PM speaks to Mr. Ram, an IT professional from Hyderabad, who recently recovered from COVID-19. Mr. Ram narrates his experience after contracting COVID-19 on his return from Dubai.

Next, he speaks to Ashok Kapur (73). “My sons, who have a shoes business, had gone to Italy. And there they got COVID-19. My son in law, who had gone too, tested positive at Ram Monahar Lohia hospital. Then we were advised test and all of us, six of our family members, tested positive. We were transferred to Safdarjung hospital. We are thankful to the doctors, nurses and staff,” says Mr. Kapur.

PM Modi asks Mr. Kapur to create awareness, and if possible, feed those who are hungry. He also urges him to popularise their experience on social media.

The PM now speaks to doctors, who are the first line of attack against COVID-19.

Dr. Nitish Gupta says: “Just as the Army fights on the borders, we are also fighting. We have to inspire people that they will be well in 14 days and will go home. People get worried by seeing the figures of expired people abroad.”

Mr. Modi says: “This is the year for the nurses. I salute them for their sense of dedication.”

The PM also thanks the heroes in our daily lives — those who ensure water supply or electricity, the neighborhood grocers, or the delivery boys of the e-commerce platforms.

“Maintain social distancing but increase social interaction,” he says while discussing the issue of instances of ill treatment  of those who are in quarantine. “Don’t go outside and but use this opportunity to look within yourself,” he says.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation and that’s why some of the decisions are also unprecedented, he says. “This is an opportunity to display your humanity. Think of feeding the poor. Our culture advocates this and I am sure we can do this. Next time we when meet again over Mann Ki Baat, I hope we will be able to get over the challenges we face now. Thank you,” says Mr. Modi as he concludes his address.

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