As the Coronavirus crisis worsens in Uttarakhand's Haridwar, Niranjani Akhada and Tapo Nidhi Shri Anand Akhada, two of the 13 akhadas of seers participating in the Kumbh Mela, on April 15, decided to exit the event.
The decision came a day after the Uttarakhand state government ruled out the possibility of curtailing the Kumbh Mela, even as coronavirus infections spike in Haridwar, reported Scroll.in.
"30 Sadhus have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, in Haridwar," Haridwar Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr SK Jha said on April 16.
"Medical teams are going to akhadas and RT-PCR tests of sadhus are being done continuously. The process will be further quickened from April 17," he added.
Commenting on the situation, Niranjani Akhada secretary Ravindra Puri said, "The main Shahi Snan held on the occasion of Mesh Sankranti on April 14 is over. Many in our akhada are showing COVID-19 symptoms. So, for us, the Kumbh Mela is over."
Coronavirus cases in Uttarakhand's Haridwar are spiralling as lakhs take a dip in the holy water completely disregarding the COVID-19 protocols. The Mela is witnessing a footfall of lakhs of pilgrims every day amid the second wave of coronavirus in the country.
The violation of COVID safety protocols has attracted criticism from across the world.
President of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad Narendra Giri is reportedly undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at AIIMS-Rishikesh while Mahamandaleshwar of Maha Nirwani Akhada from Madhya Pradesh, Swami Kapil Dev who was suffering from COVID-19, succumbed to the virus at a private hospital on April 13.
Meanwhile, with 2,220 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, Uttarakhand on Thursday recorded its highest single-day spike of infections since the beginning of the pandemic.
The state government on Thursday capped the number of people gathering for any religious or social event at 200.
The Kumbh Mela, however, was exempted from the restriction.