Despite India’s dire situation amid the COVID-19 surge, devotees took a holy dip again at the Har ki Pauri ghat in Uttarakhand's Haridwar on the occasion of the third 'Shahi Snan' in Kumbh on Wednesday, 14 April.
As per the Police Control Room in Kumbh, around 13,51,631 people had taken a dip in river Ganga till 6 pm on Wednesday, ANI reported.
The first holy bath was held on Sunday on the occasion of Mahashivratri while the second holy bath on Monday reported more than 35 lakh people who performed the ‘Shahi Snan’ in and around the Kumbh Mela area, the police control room said.
According to the schedule, four ‘Shahi Snans’ and nine ‘Ganga Snans’ will take place at Haridwar this year.
The third snan, which was held on Wednesday, is considered to be the biggest of all four 'Shahi Snans' and 11 snans of Kumbh combined.
“Compared to 1.60 crore people who arrived here in 2010, as captured by satellite image, around 6 lakh people arrived this year for Baisakhi snan,” said Inspector General of Police and Kumbh Mela in charge Sanjay Gunjiyal.
According to ANI, Haridwar DM and Kumbh Mela officer Deepak Rawat said, “Kumbh Mela used to begin in January. But looking at the COVID situation, the state Govt decided to start this in April. Centre's SOP said that in the wake of the situation, the period (of Mela) be reduced. I have no information if it’s being curtailed.”
Under normal circumstances, Kumbh lasts for nearly four months. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the duration of the festival has been limited from 1 April to 30 April.
‘Faith in God Will Overcome COVID-19’: CM Rawat
Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat appealed to the devotees on Tuesday to strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines, like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and sanitising hands during the third 'Shahi Snan'.
Amid the concerns of the Kumbh Mela turning into a super-spreader event, Rawat had said last week that “the faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus”.
COVID Test Mandatory
Garhwal Commissioner Ravinath Raman, informed that many devotees who had arrived in Haridwar for the Kumbh Mela did not carry their coronavirus test reports. He said, “Railway authorities can only permit the devotees to Mela area after they produce negative RT-PCR report.”
“People who arrive without a report should be tested on the spot and allowed to proceed only after their coronavirus report turns out to be negative,” he added.
At least 26 tested COVID positive at the Kumbh Mela while Uttarakhand reported 1,925 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total cases to 1,12,071.
(With inputs from PTI)
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