Covid 19 at Maha Kumbh Mela: Top seer dies, Niranjani Akhada announces exit—Highlights | India News

NEW DELHI: In the wake of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the sadhu community at Kumbh, at least two akhadas have exited the grand pilgrimage that has so far hosted lakhs of people.
The Kumbh mela will end on April 30 officially and the next royal bath is on April 27. The Akhada Parishad, the apex body of all 13 akhadas, is planning to take part in the next royal bath but only a few saints will go for the dip.
On April 14, the day of the Baisakhi shahi snan which is considered one of the most auspicious days of the Kumbh, a staggering 9,43,452 devotees took a dip in the holy Ganges.
Here are the highlights:
* Seers of other akhadas in Haridwar on Friday demanded an apology from Niranjani Akhada for announcing the “conclusion” of the Kumbh Mela in view of a surge in Covid. saying it did not have the right to do so. Nirvani Ani Akhada president Mahant Dharmdas said that only the mela officer or the chief minister has the right to announce the “end of the Kumbh Mela”.
* Mahamandaleshwar Kapil Dev Das, 65, of the Nirwani Akhada of MP, one of the 13 main akhadas, died from Covid-19 complications at a private facility in Haridwar on Thursday at the Maha Kumbh area.
* The place in Kankhal where the seer Dev Das had been camping houses 10,000 more saints and followers. Samples of all those staying there are scheduled to be collected on Friday.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, chief of the “Kinnar Akhara”, congregation for transgender people, along with other members takes a holy dip in the Ganges river during Shahi Snan on April 14. (Credit: Reuters)

* Announcing its exit, secretary of the Niranjani Akhada Mahant Ravindra Puri said that “most of the saints and their followers” in the camps at Haridwar have Covid-19 like symptoms.

A Naga Sadhu rubes ash as he prepares to take holy dips in the river Ganges during Shahi snan (Credit:AP)

* Karnataka has made the Covid test mandatory for all Kumbh pilgrims returning to the state. The returnees have also been advised to resume normal activities only after their Covid test report result is negative.
* Thirty-three policemen on their way back from Kumbh (between January and April 15) also tested positive. Many of them had reportedly taken both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

A chopper showers flower petals on Akhada sadhus arriving to take bath at Har Ki Pauri April 14.

* Many seers have tested positive for Covid after the commencement of Kumbh, including Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri, who is admitted at the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh.
* A senior official in the health department confirmed to TOI on Thursday that a total of 68 “top seers” in Haridwar have tested positive for Covid-19 between April 5 and 14.
* The mela administration doesn’t have any record of the total number of Covid deaths among those attending the religious fair.

Naga Sadhus participate in the procession for taking a dip in the Ganges during Shahi Snan on April 14. (Credit: REUTERS)

Kumbh Mela amid pandemic
According to the schedule of major events, four ‘shahi snan’ and nine ‘Ganga Snan’ will take place at Haridwar this year.
The first bath was held on March 11 on the occasion of Mahashivratri, the second took place on April 14 and the third on April 14. The fourth shahi snan is scheduled on April 27.
The ‘snans’ are a part of the Kumbh Mela that is supposed to be held in Haridwar from April 1 to April 30. The duration of the Kumbh festival has been shortened to 30 days this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Kumbh is held periodically at four different locations in India – Nashik, Haridwar, Prayagraj, and Ujjain.
In normal circumstances, Kumbh continues for nearly four months but this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the duration of the congregation has been curtailed to one month.
(With inputs from agencies)

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