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Coronavirus: India’s PM Modi seeks ‘forgiveness’ over lockdown


A police officer instructs migrant workers and their family members to line-up as they leave India's capital for their homes during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirusImage copyright
AFP

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Migrants workers and their families have been crowding at bus stations as they try to get home

India’s prime minister has asked for his country’s forgiveness after imposing a sweeping lockdown that he said had hurt millions of poor people.

Criticism has mounted over the lack of planning ahead of the coronavirus shutdown, which was introduced with less than four hours’ notice.

Many of India’s 1.3 billion citizens have been left jobless and hungry.

Tens of thousands of migrant labourers have been forced to walk hundreds of kilometres to their native villages.

In his weekly radio address PM Narendra Modi apologised for the impact of the strict stay-at-home measures.

But he said there was “no other way” to stop the rapid spread of the virus.

“Especially when I look at my poor brothers and sisters, I definitely feel that they must be thinking, what kind of prime minister is this who has placed us in this difficulty?

“I especially seek their forgiveness,” he said.

“Possibly many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes.

“I understand your troubles but there was no other way to wage war against coronavirus… It is a battle of life and death and we have to win it.”

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