‘I made a suggestion that now that the Shahi Snans were done, the rest of the events could be undertaken in a symbolic way,’ he tweeted about his conversation with Swami Awadeshananda Giri.
As COVID-19 cases in the country topped over 2.3 lakh cases on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought a curtailment of the Kumbh Mela under way in Haridwar, suggesting to ‘akharas’ (congregations of Hindu seers) that the event be concluded with symbolic rituals.
Tweeting on Saturday morning, Mr. Modi said that he had spoken to Swami Awadeshananda Giri over the telephone and after enquiring about the health of Hindu seers gathered for the Kumbh suggested that the event be curtailed. “I made a suggestion that now that the Shahi Snans (rituals baths in the Ganga in specific dates) were done, the rest of the events could be undertaken in a symbolic way,” he tweeted about his conversation with the Swami.
Kumbh Mela sees lakhs of devotees on the banks of the Ganga every 12 years and involves many rituals, including ritual baths in the Ganga on specific dates. This time, on the day of the Baisakhi Snan on April 14th, more than 9.5 lakh devotees from various ‘akharas’ took a dip. One seer, Mahamandleshwar Kapil Dev Das reportedly died of COVID-19, while scores of seers were found positive. Amid rising cases, the Kumbh Mela with its large gathering of people was being billed as a super spreader event. Mr. Modi’s suggestion of curtailment of the event follows a huge spike in cases in Uttarakhand, the State hosting the event.