Netizens are sharing a video shot from a moving car showing empty streets and river banks in Haridwar. The video is being shared to claim that there is no crowd in Haridwar's Kumbh Mela, which is happening between April 1 and April 30 in Uttarakhand. The video is being shared at a time when many experts believe that Kumbh Mela can prove to be a super spreader of coronavirus due to its mass gathering and non-implementation of coronavirus protocols. At the time of reporting this story, over 1700 cases of coronavirus have been detected at Haridwar Kumbh Mela.
Priti Gandhi, National Incharge of Social Media BJP Mahila Morcha, shared the video with a caption, "Entire propaganda about the #KumbhMela being a #SuperSpreader of #COVID19 is falling flat on its face. Do watch this video to see the REAL SITUATION on the ground in Haridwar."
The video was also shared by many other Twitter handles.
The post was also shared by many Facebook users.
There is no crowd in Haridwar during coronavirus.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team searched with the keyword, 'Kumbh Mela, Haridwar' and found a Live video uploaded by Doordarshan on YouTube on April 14, 2021. The video showed a crowd in the video, and no rules associated with Covid-19 were followed.
A screenshot of the video shows that thousands of people were gathered in Haridwar on April 14, and no social distancing rules were followed.
On closely observing the viral video, we noticed a hotel named Ganges Park visible in the video. The Logical Indian contacted Manish Malik, the owner of Hotel Ganges Park who said that he is not much aware of the current situation of the crowd in Kumbh Mela. However, BoomLive quoted Malik, who said, "Yes, the video is recorded on the flyover in front of our hotel. This video has been recorded in the evening and the bathing begins post-midnight. So by evening the crowd thins and Har Ki Pauri is opened for the common public after 5 pm. People take bath in the morning and leave. This video must have been recorded after 3 pm. Most people leave by then or go to Har Ki Pauri for evening aarti (rituals)".
The Logical Indian also tried to map the distance between Har Ki Paudi and Hotel Ganges Park and found they are around 6 km away from each other. While one route shows Hotel Ganges Park and Har ki Paudi to be 7.4 km apart, the other route shows them to be 6.5 km away from each other.
On Google Map, one can also see there is an elevated road near the hotel. One can also notice a river stream between the hotel and the elevated road.
Hence, we can confirm that the video was shot from the elevated road near Hotel Ganges Park, which is quite far from Har Ki Paudi, the most important bathing ghats in Haridwar. At Har ki Paudi, each evening as the sun sets, the priest performs Ganga Aarti. Most people did ablution during Kumbh Mela at this bank. The area is closed for the general public between 7 am and 5 pm when only seers of akharas are allowed to bathe here. The general public can take a dip in water only before 7 am or after 5 pm.
A video by ABP News, published on April 14, 2021, also clearly shows that many people were bathing at Har ki Paudi, without following any social distancing norms.
The Logical Indian spoke to a local journalist who said, "While there was a crowd in Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela and Shahi Snan, many of these people are now going back to their home, and the crowd is now depleting amid the COVID-19 fears."
Hence, the video misleadingly shows that there was no crowd at the MahaKumbh.
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