Manali: In solidarity with the country’s resolve to fight COVID-19 the tourist destination here responded overwhelmingly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi call on Friday about switching off the lights of home and lighting up lamps and candles for nine minutes on Sunday at 9 p.m.
At the appointed hour, lights went out in most houses and people gathered in balconies, garden flashing mobile lights while a few of them lit candles and diyas.
Despite the lockdown, several vendors and makeshift shops cropped up on Sunday selling earthen lamps and candles.
The clay lamps, along with other ‘puja samgari’, are also sold near various temples. Those shops also opened on Sunday. Gatherings at the temples and other religious places too are barred.
Those who did not find diyas in their localities contended with candles available at the local general stores.
The overall death toll in the country due to the novel coronavirus pandemic rose to 83 and the cases climbed to 3,577 on Sunday after 505 new infections were reported in the past 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry.
India has been on a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to check the spread of coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 65,000 lives globally since the epidemic first emerged in China in December.
Earlier on March 22, millions of people across the country had coming out briefly at 5 pm to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers with sounds of bells, conches and claps following the prime minister’s call after staying indoor during a ‘Janta curfew’ to help check the spread of coronavirus.
This is the second time Modi has sought to unite people amid the ongoing lockdown to combat the pandemic, which has claimed more than 65,600 lives globally and inflicted over 12 lakh people.
Crime Rate Drops
The lockdown enforced to contain the spread of corona virus in the state has had a impact on crime rate dropping sharply at the tourist resort township here.
Where on a normal day, crime cases registered at Manali police station used to average between 12 to 15, but since the lockdown only 2 crime cases have been registered.
Sanjeev Kumar, DySP Manali holds that a heavy police presence enforcing a curfew in the valley has led to a steep fall in the crime rate
“Police officers from different stations in the district have registered very few criminal cases in two weeks now. There are no murder or attempt to murder case registered, whats more there are no robber gambling or matkas incidents reported. With no traffic plying, there are no road accidents too”, said Sanjeev Kumar.