A group of 34 people, belonging to Vizag, has been stranded in Varanasi as the entire nation went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group is comprised of eight families that hail from different areas of Vizag, mainly Pendurthi, Seethammapeta, BHCP, Ramajogayya Peta.
They set off on a pilgrimage to Varanasi from Vizag on 16 March 2020 via train. After visiting Puri, Gaya, and Prayag initially, the group reached Varanasi on 21 March 2020 to complete the final leg of its pilgrimage. They were scheduled to catch a return train to Vizag on 22 March. However, with the declaration of Janata Curfew on Sunday, all trains and public transport were stopped, forcing the group to postpone their return to Monday. With the subsequent declaration of a nation-wide lockdown, the pilgrims now find themselves stranded in the temple town of Varanasi.
The group comprises four children, eight elderly, and fifteen women among others, reports stated. Mentioning that they have enough resources to last only two days, the pilgrims appealed to the Andhra Pradesh State Government to help them reach their hometown.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a nation-wide lockdown for twenty-one days. As part of the lockdown, inter-state travel has been restricted to ensure that coronavirus doesn’t spread further. For the first time in history, the Indian Railways too, canceled all its passenger trains as a precautionary measure. Citizens are repeatedly being directed to stay indoors and practise social distancing to limit the virus.