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Govt tells states to follow night curfew, flags norms’ violation

May 22, 2020 05:48 AM


Govt tells states to follow night curfew, flags norms’ violation
DIRECTIVE: Home ministry pulls up states for not implementing lockdown guidelines properly

CISF personnel punish a biker for violating lockdown norms at Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai, on Thursday. PTI
Neeraj Chauhan

New Delhi : The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Thursday again nudged the states to strictly follow lockdown guidelines, particularly the night curfew, to make sure people observe social distancing norms and contain the risk of infection spreading.

In a letter to the states, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said the night curfew, which means all non-essential activity and movement is prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am across the country, was an “important element” of MHA guidelines. The guidelines were issued on Sunday for the fourth phase of the lockdown, extended till May 31.

Bhalla wrote: “it has been brought to the notice of MHA, through media reports and other sources that there are violations, at various places, in the implementation of guidelines”. He asked local authorities to issue orders in their jurisdictions on the imposition of night curfew.

Bhalla’s letter,a copy ofwhich has been seen by Hindustan Times, doesn’t name any particular state but West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banreeje had on Monday, while issuing its own guidelines, ruled out the enforcement of night curfew.

“We won’t officially declare night curfew because people are already under a lot of stress. We do not want to increase their suffering. But we will request people not to venture out of their homes between 7 pm and 7 am or else police will take action,” Banerjee said on Monday.

She had said the word curfew has negative connotations.

An MHA official, who didn’t want to be named, said lockdown guidelines had been issued after consulting all the states. “If they don’t follow these, then it is a clear violation and the states doing so are putting their people at risk,” the official said.

On Monday, the ministry had even reminded all states that they cannot dilute the lockdown guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act.

Bhalla, on Thursday, also asked the states to properly delineate the containment zones and take action if the violations are reported in any of the zones – red, orange or green.

The national directives, issued along with the guidelines, should also be followed throughout the country, Bhalla added. These include wearing of masks, social distancing at work, transport and public places and maintaining hygiene and sanitation to contain the spread of Covid-19 and protecting individuals and the community, the letter said

“I would request all chief secretaries and administrators of Union Territories to remain vigilant in the fight against Covid-19 and ensure all measures that have either been mandated by MHA or laid down by the states are scrupulously adhered to at all levels,” Bhalla added

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