The ongoing Kumbh Mela has drawn flak from various quarters as the number of COVID-19 cases has zoomed at a rapid pace in the past few weeks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 17 urged that the ongoing Kumbh Mela ‘should now only be symbolic’ amid the second wave of COVID-19 cases in the country.
In a series of tweets, the prime minister stressed that it would give a boost to the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
PM Modi said that he had spoken to Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj – the top seer – over the phone and made the appeal regarding the Kumbh Mela. The event is being attended by tens of thousands of devotees.
“All the seers are cooperating in every possible manner. I have urged them to keep the Kumbh a symbolic event due to the coronavirus pandemic, now that two ‘Shahi Snaan’ are completed. By doing so, we will get strength to deal with this situation,” PM Modi said.
“We honour the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s call! Protecting life is a great virtue. I request people to not come for snan (holy bath) in large numbers, in the wake of the COVID-19 situation, and follow all rules,” the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha chief tweeted, in response to PM Modi’s appeal.
A senior seer died due to COVID-19 and several others have tested positive for the infectious disease after attending the religious congregation. Images and footage from the Kumbh Mela in recent days have shown thousands of pilgrims congregating for the event and can be seen ignoring COVID-19 norms.India has recorded more than 2.3 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours – highest one-day rise so far. Around 16.7 lakh cases remain ‘active’ in the country as of April 17.
Nearly 2,800 samples have tested positive in Haridwar district in the last six days. There were as many as 3,612 active cases in the district on April 15.
The ongoing Kumbh, which has seen people from different parts of the country attending the auspicious event in large numbers, has drawn flak from various quarters as the number of COVID-19 cases has zoomed at a rapid pace in the past few weeks.
The event has also reported the coronavirus cases in large numbers. The event has already been shortened this year to just one month from April 1 to 30 due to the pandemic.
In normal circumstances, the event, which comes once in 12 years, is held from mid January to April.