Social media users are sharing an image of a crowd gathered at a bank of a river. The image is being shared with a caption claiming that the image is of ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
A Twitter handle, @ShaiqUlHaq1 shared the image with a caption, "Kumbh Mela in COVID surge times. Who is super spreader of COVID in India?"
Another Twitter handle shared the video with the caption, "Covid restrictions in Kumbh Mela."
Similarly, many Twitter users shared the image with a similar caption, hinting that the image is of Kumbh Mela.
The viral image is of the ongoing Kumbh Mela being held in Haridwar.
On Google reverse image search, we found that the same image was published by Business Standard on February 4, 2019. The report was titled, 'Like Indira': At Kumbh, Priyanka trumps her brother, but not Modi". The article spoke about the politics revolving around Prayagraj Kumbh, one thing that to conclude is that the image is old and not of ongoing Kumbh Mela, which started on April 1, 2021, and will end on April 30, 2021.
The same image was also published by One India on February 10, 2019, in an article titled, "Kumbh Mela 2019: Over 2 crore expected to gather for Shahi Snan today". The article spoke about the significance of Shahi Snan in Kumbh Mela.
On further searching on the official website of Kumbh Mela, captioned Shahi Snan, we found that the image is of the 2019 Kumbh Mela that was held in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh and not the ongoing Kumbh Mela that is being held in Haridwar.
Hence, the viral image is of 2019 and not of the recent ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar which is being held amid the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.
But this does not mean that there is no crowd in the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. According to an article published by Hindustan Times, Kumbh Mela officer-in-charge Deepak Rawat has directed government officials to ensure all Covid-appropriate behaviour and protocols are followed during the shahi snan (holy dip in Ganga river). Also in an image captured by PTI on April 6 shows how priests are flouting pandemic norms by not wearing masks and not maintaining social distance.
According to Amar Ujala, the government of Uttarakhand has told that the devotees coming for Kumbh Mela will have to get an RT-PCR done to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
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