In a stern warning, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) on Tuesday warned citizens that he will be forced to call in the army or issue ‘shoot at sight’ orders if people continue to violate the 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in the state, imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

KCR’s statement comes in the wake of the public defying the lockdown imposed in the state (now till 15 April), which has resulted in the police clamping down on civilians from moving about.

“Please don’t let it come to this. The administration cannot stop everyone and I will have to call in the army or issue ‘shoot at sight’ orders. Please stay at home, otherwise the entire society will get hurt. I am appealing to everyone," KCR said while addressing a media briefing on Tuesday evening at his camp office. The chief minister also asked the local corporators to help the police and administration in their respective areas.

“This is the time to be out, and the public will be watching you. All the MLAs should also coordinate and lead (in coordinating to help with the lockdown," he said, and added that the state government will transfer the Rs.1,500 to below poverty line (white ration card holders) persons in their bank accounts in a few days. KCR also said that the police will seize passports of those who have travelled abroad recently and who are under quarantine, as they are still moving about, violating the health advisory to stay in quarantine for 14 days.

“Nobody should step out of their homes strictly after 7 p.m. If at all they need something, they can dial 100 and the police will help them. If need be we will also shut down petrol pumps. The state has also a surplus in production of vegetables so there is no nee to worry," stated KCR. He also warned shops against hoarding and hiking prices, and said that any business owner found indulging in such acts will have their shops seized. “Don’t spoilt your business," he warned.

KCR also said that the police have been asked to allow the media to go about freely, in wake of an untoward incident on Monday night wherein some policemen assaulted some media personnel. “It is a stray incident," he added. On Tuesday, another three cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were reported in Telangana, taking the total number of cases detected to 36 in the state.

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