Even as he appealed to the people to voluntarily adhere to the curfew imposed to tackle the prevailing war-like situation, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder on Monday warned of strict action against any violation of the curfew, imposed “in the larger interest of the state.”

In a video message address to the people of Punjab, the CM said he was forced to take this extreme step “in the interest of the state, and in the interest of all of you”, as he had received reports that people were moving around normally in towns, mohallas and cities despite the lockdown that became effective this morning.

Appealing to the people for cooperation, Amarinder said the violation of the lockdown by the people was “unacceptable” and it was the responsibility of his government, and his duty as its head, to “save Punjab”.

Making it clear that the curfew would be continuous, spanning 24 hours a day, the Chief Minister said only those with emergent needs would be allowed to go out, after taking due permission from their respective deputy commissioners, whose mobile numbers would be shared with the public.

Difficult decisions need to be taken in difficult times, said the CM, adding that it had become necessary to impose and enforce the curfew to survive these tough times.

“Please listen to me, and bear with me,” he appealed to the people, emphasising that “we must work shoulder to shoulder to fend off the crisis we are all facing.”

“We must save our state, our people; we have children, families,” noted Amarinder, adding that as a small state, it was all the more reason for Punjab to take all possible steps “to preserve our population and ensure that everyone lives happily for years to come.”