"Writing and speaking about the matters where they don't shed light, I'm always on my toes to bring out the untold, unheard stories from the background of Economy and Defense."
Addressing the nation through the Mann ki Baat programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologised to the country for the "harsh decision" of a nationwide lockdown that has caused inconvenience to the people of the country.
"I apologise to the nation for taking some hard decisions that have caused inconvenience to the common man. But I had to take these steps to ensure your protection," PM Modi said, extending his apology to lakhs of migrant labourers across the country who desperately tried to return to their homes.
Over the last two weeks, the country has put brakes on all its activities, shut all public transport, closed schools and colleges, malls and markets, gyms and swimming pools.
In a bid to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country, PM Modi had declared a nationwide lockdown for 21 days last week.
"The battle against COVID-19 is a tough one and it required such harsh decisions. It is important to keep the people of India safe," PM said.
The announcement trapped lakhs of migrant labourers who worked in cities, with no wages, food or shelter.
Though state governments announced that arrangements were underway to give food to the workers, community kitchens and the distribution activities were yet to come up.
As the situation deteriorated, panicked migrant labourers started moving on foot to their villages, at a time when all modes of transport were suspended. The highways across north India witnessed people and their families, carrying children on shoulders and luggage in their hands.
Yesterday, a 38- year-old man walked over 200 km from Delhi to reach his village in Madhya Pradesh. Unfortunately, the man died of a heart attack on the way and collapsed on the highway near Agra, 80 kms away from his home.
Amid the panicked movements across the country, PM Modi also asserted on the need to enforce the restrictions, saying those who are violating the lockdown are "playing with their own lives," urging people to follow "Lakshman Rekha" for a few more days.
"People must be thinking what kind of PM I am. But lockdown the only solution in front of us. Many people are still defying lockdown... this is sad...Many people across the world did the same mistake," the Prime Minister said. "Those who are defying lockdown are playing with their own lives," PM Modi said.
Elaborating on how dangerous the virus is, PM Modi said: "Coronavirus is posing a challenge to knowledge, science, rich-poor, strong-weak alike. It is not confined to any nation's borders, nor does it makes the distinction of region or season. It is bent on killing people therefore entire humanity must unite and resolve to eliminate it."
PM Modi also appreciated the efforts of the front-line workers in the battle against the virus as well as those who are working for the essential services to make sure that the country does not come to a complete standstill in the 21-day lockdown.
PM Modi also urged everyone to maintain "social distance" and "not emotional and human distance" while combating the pandemic.
"We have to maintain social distance, not emotional and human distance," PM Modi said. "Social distancing doesn't mean stopping of social interaction."
He asked people not to "not victimise those in home quarantine" and said it is a "sensitive" matter and everyone needs to understand.
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