Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has defended the gathering of lakhs of devotees in the Kumbh Mela held in Haridwar amid the rapid surge in cases owing to the second wave of COVID-19.

Defending the gathering of lakhs of devotees on the banks of River Ganga, Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat said that Kumbh Mela cannot be compared with the Markaz event held last year in New Delhi.

“There should be no comparison between Kumbh and Markaz. The Markaz was held in a closed space, whereas the Kumbh Mela is being held in the open on the sprawling ghats of the River Ganga,” Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat said.

“The devotees attending Kumbh are not from outside but our own people,” added TS Rawat while replying to a question as to why the two religious events should not be equated.

Also read: Second wave of COVID-19: Over 100 devotees test positive at Kumbh Mela as people violate protocols

Notably, the Holy city of Haridwar in Uttarakhand has reported over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in the past 48 hours after a massive crowd of devotees was seen taking dips into the River Ganga at the Mahakumbh festival.

Haridwar logged 1,002 new infections (408 on Monday, 494 on Tuesday), taking the city’s active caseload to 2,812.

The Kumbh Mela being held in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city, has seen lakhs of people gather, flouting Covid-19 norms.

Devotees were seen not following the basic protocols of face mask or social distancing.

Moreover, at many places thermal screening was reportedly not conducted despite there being CCTV cameras in the area to ensure implementation of rules.

Also read: Assam registers 590 fresh COVID-19 cases, 1 more succumb to virus

Meanwhile, India on Wednesday recorded 1,84,372 Covid-19 cases and 1,027 deaths in the last 24 hours.

This is the highest number of cases India has ever recorded, and only the second country after the United States to record these many cases in 24 hours.

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