Social media chides people for bursting crackers on PM's 9 pm 9 mins call

People at a housing society light Diyas in support of PM Modi's call
"It's not a party," "It's not Diwali," netizens vented their ire on social media, as people switched off lights at their homes at 9 pm on Sunday and instead of lighting candles, burst firecrackers in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a nine-minute candlelight vigil.

Modi had called for a nine-minute candlelight vigil on Sunday as a means to dispel the darkness spread by the coronavirus pandemic. He had asked people to switch off the lights at their homes and light a candle or a diya at their doorsteps or in their balconies at 9 pm on Sunday.

While many put up video clips and pictures of themselves lighting candles, most social media posts came down heavily against those bursting crackers.

Netizens put up video clips and pictures of people bursting crackers and shouting slogans as 9 pm approached.

"Corona ke Bharat aagman par deshwaasi khushi manate hue. Well done (people welcoming the entry of corona to India)," tweeted Arun Arora, taking a dig at those bursting crackers.

Twitter user Sparsh Oberoi, however, attributed the celebrations to boredom.

"I find that we are getting crazier by every activity. Is this due to being bored of the lockdown or just no idea of what's going on around us. The PM never asked to burst crackers. We are not celebrating anything ppl," he tweeted.

Disability rights activist Nipun Malhotra urged people not to burst crackers and reminded them that this was not a joyous moment.

"Light a diya. Be united. But crackers? Really? This ain't a party!" he tweeted.

Standup comic Vir Das indicated that he had preempted this reaction to the PM's call two days in advance.

"Repeat: Sunday is an INDOORS show of solidarity. It is NOT diwali," he said, re-tweeting an April 3 tweet of his with a solitary "sigh".

Many wondered how people procured firecrackers during a nationwide shutdown.

"Who declared crackers as essential service?" wrote Anivar Aravind.

Tweeting from the handle @_NairFYI, one user saw the bursting of crackers during a pandemic as an ominous sign and said, "Before the Titanic went down they did fire rockets to alert nearby ships."

Some Twitter users also said slogans were raised as 9 pm approached.

"This is so incredible & mesmerising, to my surprise ppl even shouted slogans "Bharat Mata Ki Jay" & "Vande Mataram"... #9pm9minute," tweeted Amol Siddham.

However, there were some who found humour even in the mass voluntary blackout.

"Itna andhera ho gaya hai poore India main, Corona ne rasta bhatak kar wapas China chale jana hai (there is so much darkness in India that corona has lost its way and gone back to China)," tweeted a user from the handle @swatic12.

Another user, Rangjogi, said, "Well, right after the first 2 quaint minutes, there were rockets in the sky. Mithai anyone??" tweeting with the hashtag #DiwaliAgainstCorona.

According to the Health Ministry, the number of coronavirus cases climbed to 3,374 in the country on Sunday, while the death toll rose to 77.

Of these, the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 3,030, while 266 people were cured and one had migrated, it said.


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