Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the Kumbh Mela should now be held as a “symbolic event” due to the COVID-19 situation. His remarks came after the head seer of the Maha Nirvani Akhada from Madhya Pradesh, Kapil Dev, died due to Covid-19 on April 13.
In a couple of tweets on Saturday morning, Modi said that he had spoken about the matter to Avadeshanand Giri of Juna Akhada, one of the 13 religious clans taking part in the festival.
“I spoke to Avadeshanand Giri ji over phone,” Modi tweeted. “All the seers are cooperating in every possible manner. I have urged them to keep the Kumbh a symbolic event due to the coronavirus pandemic, now that two ‘Shahi Snaan’ are completed. By doing so, we will get strength to deal with this situation.”
Avdheshanand Giri of Juna Akhara said they respect the prime minister’s appeal. “I request the people to not come for snan [bath] in large numbers, in the wake of Covid situation, and follow all rules,” he tweeted.
However, social media users and commentators pointed out that the prime minister’s intervention is late and that he had endorsed the Kumbh Mela earlier.