There are big crowds near the river banks who wish to take a holy dip on the occasion. (ANI file photo)
There are big crowds near the river banks who wish to take a holy dip on the occasion. (ANI file photo)

Huge crowd gathers for Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, police say difficult to ensure social distancing

The Inspector-general warned that the enforcement of social distancing at ghats may lead to a stampede-like situation.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 12, 2021 07:06 AM IST

At a time when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is again spreading fast across the country, events like the Kumbh Mela pose a particular concern for the authorities. There are big crowds near the river banks who wish to take a holy dip on the occasion, throwing social distancing for a toss. Such a thing is being witnessed in Uttarakhand's Haridwar, where people have gathered for the second royal bath of the Kumbh early on Monday. The police said that it is very difficult for them to ensure social distancing or issue challans.

"We are continuously appealing to people to follow Covid appropriate behavior. But due to the huge crowd, it is practically not possible to issue challans today. It is very difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats,” said Inspector-general of Police, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, Sanjay Gunjyal, according to news agency ANI.

This comes when the country is trying to combat and control the spread of the second wave of Covid-19 that took the case tally to over 13 million. The Inspector-general warned that the enforcement of social distancing at ghats may lead to a stampede-like situation, reported ANI.

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“A stampede-like situation may arise if we would try to enforce social distancing at ghats so we are unable to enforce social distancing here,” ANI quoted Gunjyal as saying.

A massive crowd gathered on the second day of the royal bath to take the holy dip in the Ganga river at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar. The IG said, reported ANI, that the general public will be allowed here till 7am and after that, the area will be reserved for the akharas.

The Covid-19 situation in the country is presently alarming with the number of new cases breaching records daily. To control the spread of the infection, many states have imposed night curfew and lockdown-like measures to avoid huge crowds.

Uttarakhand on Saturday reported 1,233 fresh Covid-19 infections, 317 recoveries, and three deaths. The Covid-19 case tally in the state stood at 107,479, with over 6,000 active cases till Saturday, reported ANI.

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