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Reason of the State and COVID-19

It is needless to mention that COVID-19 has, by now, become a global calamity that has engulfed in its destructive logic many countries, including India. Given the highly infectious nature of the disease, the unruly nature of the virus is likely to create a shocking degree of devastating impact that may endanger the life of many. Hence, the governments, both at the centre as well as in the states, in order to quarantine people within their houses have been using both moral appeals and also have clamped prohibitory orders. Thus, governments are trying to reach out to the people with both moral appeals as well as punitive measures that have been adopted by police forces against the “transgressors” in many parts of the country. In the event of repeated “transgressions” by tormented sections of people, some state authorities have gone to the extent of suggesting extremely repressive measures, such as shoot at sight. 

However, there seem to be two sides to the governments’ line of reasoning that has been used to lend support to its action, both its appeals and prohibitory orders and the resultant punitive actions particularly by the police. First, the governments do have a sound universal reason to suggest that staying indoors does guarantee people protection from the menace COVID-19. The governments’ line of reasoning that people who stay inside their houses are likely to remain safe is understandable. Second, the governments assume that people have adequate stocks of  essentials and hence have no reason to cross the “Laxman Rekha” or the thresholds of their houses. According to the logic of the official reasoning, those who are stepping out from their houses, therefore, lack adequate reason and hence are liable to be put back into their houses by the use of punitive power. 

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Updated On : 19th Oct, 2020

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