Kumbh Should Now Only Be Symbolic: PM Modi Appeals to Top Seer

He added that his appeal comes after two shahi snans have already taken place.

Updated
India
1 min read
Devotees gather to offer prayers during the third Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela 2021, at Har ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar. 
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, 17 April, said that the ongoing Kumbh Mela should now only 'be symbolic' as the country continues to grapple with an unprecedented health crisis.

Mass gathering of thousands of pilgrims along the banks of the Ganga has been a cause for concern and a public health threat as India witnesses a second wave of COVID-19 and several states are reporting an alarming surge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

In a tweet on Saturday morning, the prime minister said that he spoke to a head seer, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj, over phone and made an appeal about the annual gathering in wake of the crisis.

He added that his appeal comes after two shahi snans have already taken place.

In response, the seer tweeted, "We respect Prime Minister's appeal. Saving lives is important. I request the people to not come for snan in large numbers, in the wake of COVID-19 situation, and follow all rules."

As many as 31 lakh people had taken part in the ‘snan’ on Monday, 12 April, at Har ki Pauri ghat on the river banks. The holy dip is a part of Hindu pilgrimage held every 12 years at river ford sites along the Ganges in India.

"We had around 2,000 positive cases since Monday during random testing of pilgrims at the Kumbh," top festival officer Harbeer Singh told AFP on an earlier occasion.

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