With over 8.5 lakh coronavirus cases, India has become the third worst-hit country in the world. The pandemic has brought our lives to a halt and changed the way we celebrate, grieve and go about doing our daily chores.
At this point, following social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding public gatherings seem to be our safest bet against the disease. But somehow, people decided decided that doing the following things were more important than their lives.
1. Having a grand wedding.
Despite rules in place that prohibit an assembly of more than 50 guests at wedding functions, a wedding in Bihar started off the biggest infection chain in the state, so far. With over a hundred guests testing positive, the groom too died of the infection, two days after the wedding.
This news should have been enough to raise an alarm, but no, another family in Rajasthan decided to invite over 200 guests at a wedding. 37 guests who attended the event were tested positive and it is being suspected that the numbers will go up.
2. Having birthday celebrations.
Birthday celebrations can wait, but only if we survive this pandemic. Just a week after hosting a birthday party with over 100 guests, a jeweller in Hyderabad died of Covid-19. The event was apparently attended by MLAs, ministers and top traders.
Recently, a BJP Yuva Morcha leader also threw a beer party on his birthday in Gujarat, ignoring all social distancing norms.
All of this is happening at a time when the country is reeling under one of the worst health crises in recent history.
3. Crowding to buy liquor.
When the government allowed reopening of liquor shops on May 4 after 2 months of lockdown, there were rules in place - only five customers allowed in the shops at one time.
But somehow we witnessed long queues outside the liquor shops even before they opened.
Chhattisgarh: Social distancing norms being flouted as people in large numbers queue outside a liquor shop in Rajnandgaon. The state govt has allowed liquor shops to open in the state from today except for the containment zones. #CoronavirusLockdown pic.twitter.com/GfTzQP86Ip— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2020
Chaos and overcrowding led the government to shut a few shops in certain cities like Delhi. In some places, police had to resort to using lathis to control the crowd.
4. Organising religious events.
In mid-April, of the 14,378 coronavirus infections reported in the country, 4,291 were linked to the Markaz event held in Delhi's Nizamuddin area in March. Infected people were traced in 23 states and UTs of India. It was the biggest infection chain then.
Although, lockdown was imposed and religious gatherings were banned, people sought permissions from authorities to organise some or the other religious event. Around 500 devotees were seen celebrating during the rath yatra in Puri, while flouting all rules in place.
Rath Yatra being carried out with utmost precaution and social distancing in place.— ElShabazz (@ElShabazzz) June 23, 2020
Everyone is wearing a transparent Hazmat Suit which we cannot see. pic.twitter.com/E1r0278gJ2
5. Attending funerals in large numbers.
Mourning the demise of our loved ones is understandable. But is it wise to do at the cost of ours and several other people's lives?
Despite guidelines in place that only 20 people should be allowed at a funeral service, 10,000 people attended a religious preacher's funeral event in Assam. Result: A complete lockdown.
Not just this, some people even found it important to organise a grand procession, including 150 people, for a cow's funeral in UPs Aligarh.
In UP's Aligarh, a funeral procession comprising mostly of women was taken out to bury a dead cow's caracass. Police have booked 150 including 100 women for lockdown and epidemic act violation. https://t.co/qE0KqpNueI— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) May 23, 2020
Story and video via @anujajTOI pic.twitter.com/Kw7iwyu0LR
6. Organising a cricket match
While all national and international sporting activities were banned worldover, a local BJP leader in a UP village found it okay organise a cricket match of 20 people and violate rules, amid lockdown.
The police had to be called in to stop the game and an FIR was then registered.
7. Walking and jogging outdoors.
While we understand that it's important to keep yourselves physically active amid all this, it's scary to see people thronging to parks and jogging tracks, putting themselves and others at risk.
For reference, this was the scene at Marine Drive in Mumbai immediately post lockdown relaxation.
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Huge crowd at Marine drive in the evening. June 6, 2020. In phase 1 of unlocking, outdoor physical activities have been allowed across the state from June 3 from 5 am to 7 pm. #MarineDrive #Phase1 #unlocking1.0 #lockdown5.0 #mumbai #everydaymumbai #everydayeverywhere #indiapictures #thingstodoinmumbai #instagram #instadaily #everydayindia #india_gram #india_ig #indiaclicks #indianphotography #desi_diaries #photojournalism #gettyimages #reportagespotlight #mymumbai #insta_maharashtra #myhallaphoto #storiesofindia #_soi
8. Welcoming recovered Covid-19 patients.
I agree, it's good news. I agree it calls for a celebration, but not at this cost.
When senior Congress leader, Chandrakant Handore, returned home after battling coronavirus, he was greeted by a huge crowd. And it was nothing short of a party.
In Chandigarh too, residents of Ram Darbar gathered to welcome a cured COVID-19 patient. There was clapping, garlands, etc.
Chandigarh: The UT police booked residents of Ram Darbar u/s 188, 269, 270 and 34 IPC, after a video in which they are seen welcoming a recovered covid patient (in containment zone), went viral. Residents, yet to be identified, violated social distancing@timesofindia pic.twitter.com/ijM1oFSjtW— Rajinder S NagarkotiTOI (@nagarkoti) May 14, 2020
9. Celebrating lockdown relaxation.
While gathering of more than 5 people remained prohibited, residents of a housing complex in Mumbai organised a 'music and samosa party' with over 30 participants.
Why? Because it was lockdown 4.0.
While I'm still scared of going out for essential things, I wonder how people found it okay to do all this and risk so many lives.