PM Modi phones Swami Avdheshanand Giri, requests symbolic participation in Kumbh Mela amid Covid-19 scare

 PM Modi phones Swami Avdheshanand Giri, requests symbolic participation in Kumbh Mela amid Covid-19 scare

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As the two ‘shahi snans’ have concluded, PM Narendra Modi urged Swami Awadheshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar to ensure only symbolic participation in Kumbh Mela now

NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke to Swami Avdheshanand Giri over the telephone, requesting that Kumbh Mela should only see symbolic participation in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic now that two ‘shahi snans’ (holy baths) have concluded.

“I spoke to Swami Awadheshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar on the phone today and asked about the health of all saints. All the saints are giving all kinds of support to the administration. I thanked them for this and prayed that since two royal baths have taken place, the Kumbh be kept symbolic due to the coronavirus crisis. This will give strength to the fight against this crisis,” PM Modi posted on Twitter in Hindi.

Responding to his appeal, Swami Avdheshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandleshwar of Juna Akhara requested people to not come for baths in large numbers and follow all rules.

“We honour the call of Hon’ble Prime Minister. Protecting life is a great virtue. My religious religion urges the public not to come for a bath in large numbers and observe the rules, given the circumstances of the Covid-19,” the seer said acknowledging the prime minister’s call.

The ongoing Kumbh Mela, which has seen people from across the country attending the auspicious event in large numbers, drew the ire of various quarters as the COVID-19 crisis escalated in the past few weeks. The event itself reported coronavirus cases in large numbers, leading many to call it a super spreader event.

While one seer has died from coronavirus, 80 other holy men have tested positive after attending the Kumbh.

The Kumbh has already been shortened to just one month from April 1 to 30 in view of the pandemic this year. It is held from mid-January to April once in 12 years in normal circumstances.

Agencies

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