Other States

Kumbh: lakhs ignore virus concerns to take holy dip

Throwing caution to the wind amid rising cases of COVID-19, lakhs of people congregated on Wednesday on the ghats in Haridwar to take a dip in the Ganga during the third shahi snan of the Kumbh mela.

Over 13.5 lakh people, including sadhus from 13 akhadas, had bathed in the Ganga up to a little before sunset, the office of the Inspector General of Police (Mela) Sanjay Gunjyal said.

The ‘royal bath’ marked Mesh Sankranti and Baisakhi, and fell two days after a similar convergence of seers and other devotees for the second shahi snan — mammoth events where following social distancing norms appears almost impossible.

‘Less crowd’

Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash said the number of devotees at the third shahi snan — said to be the most important in a series of four — was much less than expected due to COVID-19.

Police personnel were seen distributing masks in the mela area.

But social distancing norms were violated openly by the seers when they and their followers descended the steps at Har ki Pairi to wade into the river.

No masks were worn by a large proportion of them.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 6:57:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kumbh-lakhs-ignore-virus-concerns-to-take-holy-dip/article34321501.ece

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