By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 17 Feb: Seers linked to the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, one of the top bodies of Hindu Sadhus, have expressed anguish at the state government’s decision to shorten the Mahakumbh-2021 in Haridwar to just one month – from 1 to 30 April. The notification on the Mahakumbh has not yet been issued.
The usual period for the Mahakumbh is generally 4 months but, earlier, it had been reduced to just 48 days due to the Corona pandemic. However, with the Centre issuing very strict SOPs and guidelines on hosting the Mahakumbh, the state government has decided to further reduce the period to just 30 days. An announcement in this regard was made yesterday by Chief Secretary Om Prakash. However, the seers linked to the Akhara Parishad have expressed their disapproval of the shortened period. Many saints from Haridwar, which is due to host this Mahakumbh, have expressed their anguish.
Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad President Shrimahant Narendra Giri expressed his disapproval by pointing out that the period of Mahakumbh had been fixed without taking them into confidence. He added that the Akhara Parishad would hold a collective meeting on 24 or 25 February to decide on the future course of action. He further said that the Akhara Parishad would decide on a recommendation on the Mahakumbh period and then speak with the government to extend it accordingly. Giri also pointed out that Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had already announced four Shahi Snans (Royal baths of the holy men) and the first date for the Shahi Snan is 11 March. If the Mahakumbh begins from 1 April as announced by the Chief Secretary, then how could be the first Shahi Snan be held on 11 March, he questioned.
However, all the members of the Akhara Parishad are not in agreement with Narendra Giri. The General Secretary, Shrimahant Hari Giri, on the other hand, has welcomed the decision of the government. He said that keeping oneself alive along with ensuring the safety of others ought to be the first priority of everyone during the Corona pandemic. Meanwhile, the police department has also started its preparations after the announcement on the upcoming Haridwar Mahakumbh. As part of its preparations, an inter-state meeting of the Police Departments of UP, Punjab and Haryana is to be held at the police headquarters on 19 February. At this meeting, effective implementation of various SOPs for the pilgrims at the Mahakumbh coming from these states would be discussed.
DGP Ashok Kumar has said that safe hosting of the Mahakumbh is one of the biggest challenges facing the police especially in view of the prevalent Covid pandemic. He added that traffic management would also be a major challenge.
By Arun Pratap Singh