oppn parties Don't Be Alarmed, Light Diyas If You Wish To Show Solidarity

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
oppn parties
Don't Be Alarmed, Light Diyas If You Wish To Show Solidarity

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2020-04-04 21:00:05

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

A simple request by the Prime Minister to fellow citizens to show solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 by lighting diyas and candles or flashing torches or mobile flashlights from the windows, balconies or gates of their homes on April 5 at 9 pm for 9 minutes has instigated some people to adopt extreme postures and spread alarmist messages or just plain rumours, obviously designed to derail the initiative.

The opposition parties, alarmed by the success of the "junta curfew" and the clapping-and-ringing-bells initiative to salute those at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 by Modi earlier, have made fun of the Prime Minister's request by alluding that his government is not doing enough to address the real issues and he is trying to divert attention by resorting to such gimmicks. This is just a tactic to undermine the government's efforts in combating the pandemic. The two things cannot be combined. The government is taking appropriate and timely decisions to fight against COVID-19. This initiative is just to involve the citizens.

On the other hand, busybodies have raised concerns that the sudden drop in demand might derail the power grid, leading to blackouts in the country. No data has been provided by those who are spreading such alarming messages. But other experts have estimated the total reduction in demand to be around 12-13 GW. It is not clear how they have arrived at this figure because there is a lot of confusion going around.

Others have started floating rumours that switching off lights means switching off all appliances, like air conditioners, computers etc., too.  This is stupid. Nowhere in his message did Modi say anything about switching off everything at home. He just asked people to create darkness (symbolically representing coronavirus) and then light diyas and candles to show that the nation was one in fighting against it. The government has come out with a clarification that only lights need to be switched off at homes.

The government has also clarified that since only lights at homes would be switched off (all street lights and those at essential facilities like hospitals, police stations etc. will remain switched on), the demand will not fall drastically. In any case, the power ministry assured the nation that it was working on a war-footing to ensure that the grid worked properly.

Hence, people should not be alarmed and if they wish to participate in the initiative, they should switch off their lights only. Remember, the government has also advised that one should not use alcohol-based sanitizers on hands before lighting the diyas or candles. Also, make this a family initiative and do not gather in compounds or on the streets. Follow social distancing norms, as advised by the Prime Minister.