Home News PM Modi seeks curtailment of Kumbh Mela amid surge in COVID-19 cases

PM Modi seeks curtailment of Kumbh Mela amid surge in COVID-19 cases

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‘I made a suggestion that now that the Shahi Snans were done, the rest of the events could be undertaken in a symbolic way,’ he tweeted about his conversation with Swami Awadeshananda Giri.

As COVID19 cases in India topped over 2.3 lakh cases on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought a curtailment of the Kumbh Mela underway in Haridwar, with the Juna Akhara, a prominent  congregations of Hindu seers announcing that it was ending its participation in the event at his behest.

Tweeting on Saturday morning Prime Minister Modi said that he had spoken to Swami Awadeshananda Giri over the telephone and after enquiring about the health of Hindu seers gathered for the Kumbh suggested that the event be curtailed. “I made a suggestion that now that the Shahi Snans (rituals baths in the Ganga in specific dates) were done, the rest of the events could be undertaken in a symbolic way,” he tweeted about his conversation with Swami Awadeshananda Giri.

Swami Awadeshananda Giri, who heads the Juna Akhara , one of the main akhaaras present at the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar later announced that his akhara was ending its participation in the event as “protecting the lives of Indians was more important amid the rising pandemic” and that the akhara had performed the ritual immersion of deities which usually happens at the end of the Kumbh , today.

Kumbh mela sees lakhs of devotees on the banks of the Ganga every twelve years and involves many rituals including ritual baths in the Ganga on specific dates. This time on the day of the Baisakhi Snan on April 14th, more than 9.5 lakh devotees from various akhadas took a dip. One seer, Mahamandleshwar Kapil Dev Das reported died of COVID19, while scores of seers were found COVID positive. Amid rising cases the Kumbh with its large gathering of people was being billed as a super spreader event. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani declared that all pilgrims returning from the Kumbh to the state would undergo COVID19 tests at railway stations and other ports of entry.

Prime Minister Modi’s suggestion of curtailment of Kumbh follows a huge spike in cases in Uttarakhand , the State hosting the event.