Akhadas, seers oppose Uttarakhand govt’s fresh Mahakumbh SoP on Covid-19
- The Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad has termed the restrictions as 'stern measures'.
The latest standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the Uttarakhand government’s disaster management department have not gone down well with Akhadas, seers, local priests and the trader fraternity.
The Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad has termed the restrictions as 'stern measures'. The SOPs include mandatory registration at government portals, negative Covid-19 report (not more than 72 hours old), e-pass allocation for pilgrims, among others. Stern legal action against violators will be initiated under the Disaster Management Act and Covid-19 regulations, as per the SOPs.
Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri questioned the necessity of bringing in such measures for the Haridwar Mahakumbh when no such SoPs and restrictions were in place during the Magh Mela in Prayagraj and at Vrindavan fair.
"How under the umbrella of such stern restrictions, protocols and procedures a grand Kumbh can be organised? In name of fear of corona or safety measures, undue restrictions should not be put in place. Though the government has assured of conducting grand Kumbh fair, we urge it to ease restrictions as Covid-19 transmission has slowed down in the recent months and vaccination is also being done," said Narendra Giri.
Shri Mahant Rajendra Das, president of Akhil Bharatiya Shri Panch Nirmohi Akhada, expressed displeasure over the delay in making arrangements for seers from other states, particularly Khalsa seers who are now heading for Haridwar Kumbh after completion of the Vrindavan fair.
Akhada Parishad has also objected to the proposed one-month-long Mahakunbh 2021 instead of the earlier announced 60 days of Kumbh.
"Normally, every Kumbh is at least 4 months long in Haridwar but this time, the state government has shortened the duration to just a month. The government has shown no regard to saints, local priests and the trader community. It seems the government is not interested in organising Kumbh fair in reality while on paper it claims to organise a grand Kumbh," said former CM Harish Rawat after attending a religious event at Pathri village.
Hindu Jagran Manch activists also met Shankaracharya Jagadguru Raj Rajeshwarashram at his Kankhal-based ashram and expressed their displeasure over the restrictions on Kumbh-bound pilgrims and saints.
"We are generating awareness among saints as well as the masses regarding the need to adhere to Covid-preventive measures. Negative Covid report conducted within 72 hours of the arrival of pilgrims and seers is mandatory as per the SoP," said Haridwar chief medical officer Dr SK Jha.