Several devotees took a holy dip at Ganga ghat in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi on the occasion of Ganga Dussehra and flouted COVID-19 norms. Hundreds of people were spotted without masks and jostling to take a dip in the river.
Ganga Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day (Dashami) of the waxing phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha) in the Hindu month Jyeshtha. Taking a dip in Ganga on this day is considered a means to get rid of their sins and heal any physical ailments.
Just a day after AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria had said that there could be a possible third wave of corona in the next 6 to 8 weeks in the country, thousands of people took bath in the Ganges yesterday.
A large number of devotees gathered at the Ganga Ghat in Hapur, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Mathura, Haridwar and Rishikesh, flouting Covid norms, reported NDTV. Although there was no ban on bathing in Mathura and Prayagraj, the number of devotees gathered over there was comparatively less.
Restricted borders in Haridwar
In Haridwar, police officials had informed the district borders will be sealed on June 20, and no devotees would be allowed to come in from other states. Superintendent of Police (SP), City of Haridwar Kamlesh Upadhyaya had said that after meeting with the officials of Shri Ganga Sabha including various religious institutions in Haridwar, it has been decided that Ganga Dussehra will be celebrated in a symbolic way.
He had also requested the devotees to celebrate the festival from their homes, but the picture on June 20 was different.
COVID protocols announced at Varanasi, Hapur
In Varanasi, announcements were being made by the officials at the Varanasi ghat, asking people to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols and proceed to their homes after offering prayers. However, hundreds of people were spotted without masks and jostling to take a dip in the river.
In Hapur, District Magistrate Anuj Singh had banned bathing in Garhmukteshwar and had circulated written guidelines on the ban. But despite the ban, a considerable crowd had reached the ghat.