On PM Modi’s ‘diya jalao’ appeal, millions illuminate Sunday night with candles and torches to defeat ‘darkness’ of coronavirus

As appealed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, millions of people across India on Sunday switched off the lights of their houses at 9 pm for nine minutes to show solidarity in country’s fight against the novel coronavirus and to end its ‘darkness’.

PM Modi, in a ‘short video message’ on Friday, had appealed people to light candles and torches at their balconies and switch off their lights on April 5 to show the country’s “collective resolve” to defeat the dreadful infection.

“Today when crores of people are inside homes, then some of us may think how will they fight this battle against COVID-19 alone. Such questions might come up in your mind? But please remember, none of us is alone. The strength of 130 crores of Indians is with each one of us,” PM Modi had said. 

On Sunday morning, the Prime Minister had also reminded people to light up lamps at their balconies. “#9pm9minute,” PM Modi had tweeted.   

PM Modi’s call to switch off lights also proved to be a boon for shopkeepers selling diyas and candles as many across the country were buying diyas and candles. Despite India being in a lockdown, a number of makeshift roadside shops and carts cropped up selling earthen lamps and diyas at various places.  

“Sales of diyas have increased to 50 per cent and we also got orders. It has happened because of Modi ji’s appeal. We are with him in this,” news agency ANI quoted a Delhi shopkeeper Ram Ravi Kumar as saying.

“I have bought 50 diyas for today. PM Modi had said that people have to light the diyas for nine minutes after switching off light at home,” ANI quoted Vikas Kumar, a resident of Patna, as saying.

The novel coronavirus has so far claimed the lives of 79 people and affected over 3,000 in India. In wake of the alarming situation, a lockdown has been enforced in India to control the spread of the infection.

Amid this, the government has appealed people not to panic and urged everyone to practice ‘social distancing’ as it is the only way to break the chain of the COVID-19 infection.

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