At ‘symbolic’ Kumbh Mela, at least 25K people gather on last holy dip

Uttarakhand: Despite the rise in COVID 19 cases that is causing the country to bleed inside out, at least 25,000 people attended the last ‘shahi snan’ (royal bath) at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Apart from that, around 1,350 seers from different akhadas participated in the ritual. Yet this is only one per cent of total attendance that usually attends this event.

A curfew has been ordered by the government in Haridwar on the last day of this religious congregation, after several appeals of medical experts and opposition leaders. 

The curfew will commence from the evening of April 27 to the morning of May 3, to keep people safe from the virus. Only essential services will be allowed during the curfew hours, which will be enforced in the urban areas of Haridwar, Roorkee, Laksar and Bhagwanpur, the Haridwar District Magistrate said.

Kumbh Mela is a month long event which happens after every 12 years and it last happened in 2010. 

This year, it was cut three days short as the second wave of COVID-19 infections became a thing of worry. Upto 32 lakh devotees were present together on the first holy dip March 11 and the figures came down to 19 lakh for the second one on April 14.

Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested for the ongoing Kumbh Mela to be ‘symbolic’ with only selected few members.

Yet, a large crowd was seen on the last day even after all the caution by experts. They even called the event a potential ‘super-spreader’ for the disease.

Apart from several thousands of people who tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from the Mela, many seers also are reeling under the grip of the virus. Panchayati Niranjani Akhada chief Ravindra Puri tested positive for the disease hours after the group withdrew from Kumbh on Thursday, April 15. Their decision had come after over 30 sadhus, across several akhadas tested positive for COVID-19.

And Mahamandaleshwar Kapil Dev Das of the Nirwani Akhada of MP passed away from COVID on 15 April.

Uttarakhand has reported 5,058 COVID-19 cases on Monday with Dehradun registering 2,034 cases and Haridwar 1,002 cases.

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