By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 17 April: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today morning appealed that the Kumbh Mela be now curtailed and observed on symbolic basis. Modi tweeted that he had spoken to Swami Awadheshanand Giri over the phone to enquire about the health of the Hindu seers who had gathered in Haridwar for the Kumbh. He added that he had made a suggestion that now that the Shahi Snans had been done, the rest of the events could be undertaken in a symbolic manner.
Responding to PM Modi’s tweet Swami Awadheshanand Giri, head of one of the largest akharas of the seers, the Juna Akhara also tweeted that he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that the seers respected PM Modi’s appeal. Saving lives was sacred. He requested people to not gather for the Shahi and the other snans in large numbers and also strictly adhere to all Covid protocols.
However, despite this appeal by Modi, there were no separate orders from the state government over the continuation of the Kumbh Mela till late Saturday evening, indicating some confusion within the government in respect of the Kumbh Mela. It is still not known if the Kumbh Mela will now be curtailed any further. It may be recalled that Kumbh Mela usually lasts from Mid January till end of April under normal circumstances. However this year, in view of the Corona pandemic, the time period of Kumbh had been already curtailed to just one month. Fresh Covid guidelines issued under the signatures of Chief Secretary Om Prakash today specifically mentioned that the earlier orders in respect of Kumbh would remain in force.
Meanwhile some Akharas have already announced their departure from Kumbh Mela in view of the rapidly spreading pandemic. Some other Akharas however have reportedly resisted any attempt to cut short the Kumbh any further.