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India’s coronavirus lockdown sparks mass migrations, an economic catastrophe and a crisis of faith in Modi – By Mark Mackinnon

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the March 24 order – with just four hours’ notice – for businesses to close and people to remain in their homes for three weeks, it sparked a migration by hundreds of thousands of labourers; Moving with them are fears that they will inadvertently carry COVID-19 into rural parts of the country that lack the medical facilities and supplies to cope with an outbreak.

The world’s largest lockdown has also brought India’s economy to a halt, raising questions about how long Mr. Modi – who has cast himself as part strongman, part champion of the working poor – can keep his supporters onside as hardships mount.

“This is not just the biggest challenge Modi has faced. It’s probably the biggest challenge independent India has faced,” said Nitin Pai. Though Mr. Modi said he had “no choice” but to order the lockdown, some critics argue that he exacerbated an already difficult situation by making the move with so little warning and without any plan in place to handle what came afterward.


How COVID-19 Will Hit India – By Isaac Chotiner (Apr 1, 2020, New Yorker)

India racked by greatest exodus since partition due to coronavirus – By Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Manoj Chaurasia (Mar 30, 2020, The Guardian)

Turning stadiums into jails and treating migrants as criminals: Why Modi’s apology rings hollow – By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan (Mar 30, 2020,

‘Hunger will kill us before coronavirus’, say Rohingya in India – By Raqib Hameed Naik (Mar 31, 2020, Al Jazeera)

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