Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the Kumbh Mela “should now only be symbolic amid the coronavirus crisis” and appealed to keep it low-key amidst spiraling cases of Covid-19 infections among the seers and devotees thronging the religious Mela.
While a seer has succumbed to the infection, over 2000 have tested positive for Covid-19 within the first six days of the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in Uttrakhand.
Swami Kapil Dev, leader of the Maha Nirvani Akhada from Madhya Pradesh died at a private hospital in Dehradun after contracting the virus while attending the religious festival, areport stated.
Modi has reportedly appealed to Swami Avdheshanand Giri of Juna Akhara to keep the Kumbh Mela symbolic in nature as this will greatly aid in containing the spread of the virus that has infected lakhs in India.
Swami Avdheshanand responded to the Prime Minister’s appeal saying that the religious community respects the latter’s request and that saving lives is vital.
The religious leader also appealed to the public not to take part in the ritual bath at the Kumbh Mela and follow all Covid-19 protocols.
This year the mega Kumbh Mela is being held for one month from April 1 to 30 due to the pandemic.
Usually, the event is held from mid-January to April.
The Kumbh Mela considered to be the world’s largest religious gathering, is celebrated four times after a span of 12 years at the four pilgrimage sites of Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik and Prayagraj.
India recorded an unparalleled 2,34,692 fresh Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours in what is the biggest daily spike to be recorded till date.