Mahakumbh Mela Should 'Only Be Symbolic' Due To The Rise In COVID-19 Cases: PM Modi

According to the Haridwar Kumbh Mela Medical Office, 68 saints have tested positive for Covid-19 between 5 to 14 April.

Uttarakhand   |   17 April 2021 7:09 AM GMT
Writer : Susmita Modak | Editor : Kishan Rao | Creatives : Vijay S Hegde
Mahakumbh Mela Should Only Be Symbolic Due To The Rise In COVID-19 Cases: PM Modi

Image Credit: Livemint

On Saturday, April 16, Prime Minister Modi spoke to the most prominent Akhara leader, Swami Avdheshanand Giri of Juna Akhada, about the rapid growth of infection in COVID-19. He said that the Mahakumbh Mela 2021 should 'only be symbolic' in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement came after many seers reported positive for the infection in the festival, including Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri. Mahant Narendra Giri is admitted to Rishikesh's All India Medical Institute Of Medical Science.

PM Modi tweeted and appealed to call off the Mahakumbh Mela due to the massive surge in COVID-19 infections. He tweeted that he had spoken to Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Pujya Swami Awadheshanand Giriji enquiring about the health of the saints and thanked them for providing support to the administration. PM Modi noted that two rounds of 'Shahi snans' had already been completed and appealed for the Kumbh Mela to be observed only 'symbolically' as it would strengthen India's fight against COVID-19.

In response to PM Modi's tweet, Swami Awadheshanand asked the devotees not to come in large numbers for the 'snans'. The saint urged people to follow COVID protocols. He said that protecting lives is a great virtue.

COVID-19 cases rising among seers

Kapil Dev, Mahamandaleshwar of Maha Nirwani Akhada from Madhya Pradesh Swami, who had tested positive for Covid-19, has died from Covid-19. According to the Haridwar Kumbh Mela Medical Office, 68 saints have tested positive for Covid-19 between 5 to 14 April.

The Uttarakhand Health Department said that the officials had recorded 1,701 Covid-19 cases between April 10 and April 14 at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. RT-PCR tests and Rapid Antigen tests are being done to detect the infection, reported India.com.

Mahakumbh Mela comes after every 12 years and is celebrated for four months, but this time, the period is shortened to one month only due to the pandemic. The 'snans' are a part of the Kumbh Mela that is supposed to take place between April 1 to April 30.

Karnataka has made the Covid test mandatory for all Kumbh returners. The returnees are also told to get back to the normal lives only after their negative reports, reported The Times of India.

However, the most influential and powerful Akhara, Juna Akhara, has said that Maha Kumbh will continue till May 26. In a video, the international spokesperson Mahanat Narayan Giri is heard saying that such a pandemic comes in every 100 years.

"Everyone has to die one day, but they should not forget their culture and rituals", he said. He also said that they will follow all the guidelines of the government, will get tested and get the vaccination also to prevent the spread of the virus.

Also read: Karnataka: Unpaid For Months, Crematoria Workers Threaten To Stop Work In Bengaluru

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