U'khand Govt May Call Off Kumbh if Seers Propose; Niranjani, Anand Akharas Back Out Amid Covid Surge

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The Uttarakhand government may call off the Kumbh Mela if a proposal comes from Akhada Parishad, the top body of seers, sources told News18.

Meanwhile, the Tirath Singh Rawat-led government has imposed a night curfew from Thursday night in the entire state. and the Chief Minister will take a stock of the Covid-19 situation on Friday evening to take a call on weekend curfew and stringent night curfew.

Besides Niranjani Akhara, Anand Akhara has also joined in to conclude Kumbh from Saturday.

On Thursday, as Haridwar reported a daily spike of more than 600 new coronavirus cases, one of the prominent Akharas (ascetic groups) participating in Kumbh Mela, the Niranjani Akhara, advised its seers to leave the religious gathering on Saturday.

Secretary of Niranjani Akhara, Ravindra Puri, said, "Due to the growing number of Covid cases, Haridwar is not in good shape. Seers associated with the Akhara have been advised to leave for their destinations on Saturday, April 17, after taking snan (in Ganga River)". Puri also appealed to other Akharas to curtail the Kumbh Mela for seers.

There are over 13 akharas and lakhs of seers associated with them. Several seers have tested positive amid the ongoing Kumbh Mela. The head of the Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri, has tested positive and has been admitted to AIIMS, Rishikesh. Several other seers have complained of covid-like symptoms such as cold and running nose. The Haridwar administration on Thursday conducted a camp at Juna Akhara and collected around 200 swab samples.

An official at Kailash Hospital, Dehradun told News18 the head of the Maha Nirvani Akhara from Madhya Pradesh Swami Kapil Dev who was under treatment for Covid died due to virus-related complications on Tuesday night. The 65-year-old was rushed to the Dehradun hospital from Haridwar on April 13 after his condition deteriorated.

Uttarakhand recorded over 2,220 new coronavirus cases, the biggest single-day spike so far, with Dehradun and Haridwar districts emerging as major hotspots. Out of the new cases, Dehradun reported 914 new cases alone. With 613 new cases in Haridwar, the city’s Covid tally surged to 2,780 between April 10 and April 15.

The Kumbh Mela began on April 1 and will conclude this month-end. Despite Niranjani Akhara’s announcement, the Uttarakhand cabinet minister Bansidhar Bhagat said the Kumbh would continue.

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