Kumbh Mela 2021: Largest sects of seers exit festival after PM Narendra Modi's appeal
Kumbh Mela 2021 has been at the centre of a controversy amid fears that it could be a super spreader event, with millions flouting rules to take a dip in the River Ganga.
April 19, 2021 / 11:02 AM IST
Kumbh Mela 2021 (Image: Reuters)
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal on April 17 that the ongoing Kumbh Mela ‘should now only be symbolic’ amid the second wave of COVID-19 cases in India, most camps housing seers now wear a deserted look.
Prominent Sanyasi Akhadas including Juna, Atal, Agni, Ahavan, Niranjani and Anand have announced the closure of the Kumbh for their seers, according to a report by The Times Of India.
Many of these seers have left Haridwar or will leave on April 19 as curbs on movement were being imposed on Sunday. “We do not want to risk the lives of the seers and pilgrims coming to Haridwar at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising phenomenally. Therefore, a collective decision was made regarding the closure of the Kumbh by our Akhada," Mahant Hari Giri of the Juna Akhada told the newspaper.
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On April 17, PM Modi said that he had spoken to Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj – a top seer – over the phone and made the appeal regarding the Kumbh Mela. The event is being attended by tens of thousands of devotees.
The ongoing Kumbh Mela has been at the centre of controversy amid fears that it could be a super spreader event, with millions flouting rules to take a dip in the River Ganga.
A senior seer died due to COVID-19 and scores have tested positive for the infectious disease after attending the religious congregation. Images and footage from the Kumbh had shown thousands of pilgrims congregating for the event and could be seen ignoring COVID-19 safety norms.
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Seers of the Bairagi and Udasin sects have reportedly decided to stay on at the Kumbh mela to participate in the last 'shahi snan' (royal bath) on April 27. However, the 13 largest sects of seers have collectively decided to pull out of the religious festival.
Several states have started imposing restrictions and measures for those returning from the Kumbh.
India has recorded more than 2.73 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours – highest one-day rise so far. Around 19.29 lakh cases remain ‘active’ in the country as of April 19.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic