New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the ongoing the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar when the country is reeling under the cascading effect of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the ongoing Kumbh in Haridwar should now have symbolic participation due to the COVID-19 crisis.

PM Modi dialled one of the top Seers, Swami Avdheshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandleshwar, Juna Akhara and enquired about the health of saints, many of whom have contracted the infection, and also conveyed his appreciation for their cooperation with the local administration.

The Prime Minister also appealed to him that Kumbh Mela should now only be symbolic in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and said that keeping the event symbolic, it will give strength to the whole country in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"I prayed that two 'shahi snan' have taken place and Kumbh (participation) should now be kept symbolic. This will boost the fight against this crisis," the prime minister tweeted in Hindi.

Following PM Modi's request, Swami Avdheshanand Giri also tweeted and said that all the seers respects PM Narendra Modi and his request and also urged people not to come for Kumbh Mela in large numbers for bathing in wake of the deadly pathogen and if already attending the mega event, then follow all COVID-related guidelines and protocols.

The ongoing Kumbh, which has seen people from different parts of the country attending the auspicious event in large numbers, has drawn flak from various quarters as the number of COVID-19 cases has zoomed at a rapid pace in the past few weeks. The event has also reported the coronavirus cases in large numbers.

Meanwhile, around 2,300 people have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela in the last 5 days confirming fears that one of the largest religious gatherings may contribute further to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

The state government is yet to decide on calling off the event in wake of the alarming spike in daily COVID-19 cases at the Kumbh Mela. As per reports, it may conclude the event if a proposal comes from Akhada Parishad. 

The ongoing Kumbh has already been shortened this year to just one month from April 1 to 30 due to the pandemic. In normal circumstances, the event, which comes once in 12 years, is held from mid January to April. 

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan