2013 Image Revived to Take a Dig at Kumbh Mela Amid COVID Surge
The image is of the 2013 Kumbh Mela in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) and not of the ongoing festival in Haridwar.
The image was shared on social media platforms with the caption, "Meanwhile at the Haridwar kumbh mela... Foreigners appalled at how low we wear our masks", and the hashtags, 'HaridwarMahakumbh2021' and 'KumbhMela2021’.
Actress Simi Garewal also shared the image with the same caption, while film director Hansal Mehta captioned it, "Who said nobody is masked?" garnering over 1,600 likes at the time of writing this article.
National Spokesperson of All India Congress Committee, Udit Raj, also shared the image with the caption, "1500 Tablighi Jamaat were doing ‘corona jihad’ in India and now millions of sadhus have gathered at Kumbh to deal with that ‘jihad’ and corona," in Hindi.
Several users also shared a screenshot of Garewal's tweet on Facebook. While Facebook page 'StarBhakts' garnered over 2,500 likes on its post, environmental activist Piyush Manush had over 2,400 likes on his post at the time of writing this article.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
A reverse image search led us to an article on the website of Remote Lands, a travel company exclusively for Asia, dated 14 February 2013.
The writer of the article states that he had attended the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad (now Prayagraj).
While the image may be old, visuals of the Kumbh Mela currently going on in Haridwar show several devotees without masks or social-distancing, despite the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat's assurances that all protocols would be followed for COVID-19.
Kumbh Mela Inspector General Sanjay Gunjayal had admitted that it was difficult for the police to enforce social distancing during the second shahi snan where massive crowds gathered, fearing a "stampede-like situation".
Haridwar has been recording a surge in COVID-19 cases, with over 1,000 cases on 12 and 13 April combined.
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