After ‘Shahi Snan’, COVID Curfew Imposed in Uttarakhand Till 3 May

2,000 seers from 13 akharas, and 25,000 devotees bathed in Brahma Kund at Har Ki Pauri on Tuesday, 27 April.

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Devotees gather to offer prayers during the third Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela, 2021, at Har Ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar. (Image used for representational purpose only.)

Uttarakhand has imposed a curfew in Haridwar, Roorkee, Laksar and Bhagwanpur from Wednesday, 28 April, till 5 am on 3 May, as per ANI. The move came after the conclusion of the last 'shahi snan’ at the Kumbh Mela in the state.

Despite the mounting COVID-19 cases that has crippled the health infrastructure of the country, a crowd of Hindu devotees gathered at ‘Har Ki Pauri’ in Haridwar on Tuesday, 27 April, for the last ‘shahi snan’ at the Kumbh Mela.

Visuals showed scores of pilgrims taking the holy dip in the Ganga, flouting physical distancing measures with no masks in sight.

Over 2,000 seers from 13 different akhadas and 25,000 devotees bathed in the Brahma Kund at Har Ki Pauri on Tuesday, as per PTI. Just hours later, state authorities imposed the COVID curfew, three days before the Kumbh Mela is to end.

‘Symbolic Snan’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 April had said that the ongoing Kumbh Mela should now be only “symbolic”.

In a tweet, Modi said that he had spoken to a head seer, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj, over phone and appealed about the gathering in the wake of the crisis.

Only essential services will be allowed for the duration of the ‘curfew. On Tuesday, the state reported 5,703 new cases, the highest one-day spike in the outbreak since last year.

As per Union Health Ministry data, there are 43,032 active cases and 1,13,736 people have recovered from COVID-19 so far. As many as 2,309 people have lost their lives to the infection in the state and there have been 1,62,562 cases so far.

Over 30 Seers +ve, Top Saint Dead

Panchayati Niranjani Akhada chief Ravindra Puri tested positive for the disease hours after the group withdrew from the Kumbh on Thursday, April 15. Their decision had come after over 30 sadhus, across several akhadas tested positive for COVID-19.

“There are cases in almost all the akhadas, including Niranjini and Juna,” Haridwar Chief Medical Officer SK Jha had told NDTV.

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

Meanwhile, 65 healthcare personnel, including doctors, deployed on Kumbh duty have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Friday, according to a report by PTI.

Many state governments have ordered measures such as 14-day mandatory home quarantine and RT-PCR test reports for devotees returning from the Kumbh.

(With inputs from PTI and NDTV.)

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