Juna Akhada Mahamandleshwar Avdheshanand Giri addresses the media at Haridwar Mahakumbh on Saturday. (Rameshwar Gaur/HT PHOTO.)
Juna Akhada Mahamandleshwar Avdheshanand Giri addresses the media at Haridwar Mahakumbh on Saturday. (Rameshwar Gaur/HT PHOTO.)

Top seers at Mahakumbh agree to symbolic participation after PM Modi’s appeal

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Uttarakhand, at least 70 seers at the Mahakumbh had tested positive for the disease while two top seers including a Mahamandleshwar died of the infection recently.
By Sandeep Rawat
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2021 08:22 PM IST

Amid the massive surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, the seers at the ongoing Haridwar Mahakumbh have decided to participate in a symbolic manner in the last Shahi Snan on April 27.

The information was shared by the Mahamandleshwar of the biggest of all 13 Akhadas--- Juna Akhada on Saturday morning.

The development came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Avdheshanand Giri earlier in the day over the telephone where he requested the seers to hold the rest of the Mahakumbh symbolically citing the Covid-19 wave.

Speaking about the decision, Giri said, “The Mahakumbh will go on but due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and on the request of PM Modi, seers of Juna Akhada have decided to participate in the last Shahi Snan on April 27 only symbolically.”

Urging pilgrims from other states and Uttarakhand to come in less numbers for the fourth Shahi Snan, he said, “Mahakumbh will go on but owing to the recent wave of Covid-19 cases in the entire country we all need to be cautious. Religion and customs-traditions are vital but nothing is more important than life. It’s important to pay heed to the PM’s suggestion.”

Giri also informed that a large number of seers have already started leaving the Mela because, “Traditionally the fourth Shahi Snan is attended mainly by the seers of the three Bairagi Akhadas, and for all the rest 10 Akhadas the Baishakhi Shahi Snan is the important one after which they start leaving.”

“Juna Akhada will be taking part in the April 27 Chaitra Poornima Shahi Snan symbolically and I urge other Akhadas to follow suit,” he said.

The governing body ---- the Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad made it clear that the Mahakumbh “won’t be curtailed”.

“It will be held till the completion of its designated period on April 30 as it has been held traditionally since centuries. However, amid the Covid-19 surge, we are committed to adhere to the Covid-19 safety norms,” said Akhada Parishad general secretary Mahant Hari Giri.

Earlier, in another development at the Mahakumbh, Kumbh Mela officer Deepak Rawat and Kumbh Mela force officers- inspector general Sanjay Gunjyal and senior superintendent of Police Janmejaya Khanduri met Mahamandleshwar Avdheshanand Giri at his ashram during which they “thanked the seers for their cooperation in the two big Shahi Snans on April 12 and 14.”

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Uttarakhand, at least 70 seers at the Mahakumbh had tested positive for the disease while two top seers including a Mahamandleshwar died of the infection recently.

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