Millions of Indians respond to PM’s appeal; light candles, diyas, turn on mobile phone torches

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Millions of Indians across the country switched off lights at their homes and lit candles and diyas or turned on mobile phone torches on Sunday night, responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s appeal to show the nation’s “collective resolve and solidarity” in its fight against coronavirus with this symbolic gesture.

Much before the designated time of 9 pm, people turned off lights at their homes while lamps and candles lit up the streets as people stood in their balconies and at entrance doors in unison. Fireworks, sounds from beating of thalis, conches, whistles and police sirens were heard.

At many places the air resonated with the sounds of devotional songs, mantras and national anthem, in scenes similar to the ones seen across the country on March 22 when Modi had sought to rally Indians by asking them to come out briefly at 5 pm to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers.

Modi, who had on Friday urged people to turn off lights at their homes for nine minutes at 9pm to display the country’s collective resolve and solidarity to defeat the virus, posted on Twitter his own pictures of lighting lamp.

People continued to stay outside while maintaining social distancing much beyond the nine minutes. In some pockets, Diwali seemed to have arrived months earlier.

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