Twist of faith: Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat tests Covid positive
Two days after Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat said “faith will overcome the fear of the virus”, while defending the relaxing of safety norms during the Kumbh festival in Haridwar, he tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.
Rawat was due to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi this week, but the trip was called off after he contracted the contagious pathogen.
“My Corona test report has come positive. I am fine and not facing any difficulty. I have isolated myself under the monitoring of doctors. Those of you who have come into contact with me in last few days, should be cautious and get their tests done. I wish good health to all,” Rawat tweeted.
He visited Haridwar three times after becoming CM on March 10, and mingled with pilgrims and ascetics, with hardly anyone following Covid safety norms. Rawat was not wearing a mask in several images taken of him in Haridwar on the day of the “shahi snan” (holy dip) on March 11, when the crowds swelled to 3.3 million.
After Rawat took over as CM, he said that there should not be any restrictions on pilgrims wishing to come to Mahakumbh after April 1. Two days ago, during a visit to Haridwar, Rawat said: “Nobody will be stopped in the name of Covid-19, as we are sure the faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus.”
Worried about the situation in Haridwar in the context of the Mahakumbh and Rawat’s statements, the Centre on Sunday wrote to the Uttarakhand government to take stringent measures to check Covid spread during the Kumbh.
Haridwar has highest active cases of all 13 districts in the state at the moment.
Since taking over as chief minister of the state on March 10, Rawat has courted several controversies.
On Sunday, at a public function, he said that “the US had enslaved India for 200 years”, and questioned why people do not have 20 children if they wanted more subsidised rations during Covid.
On March 16, Rawat objected to people, particularly women, wearing ripped jeans.“Ripped jeans paves the way for societal breakdown and is a bad example parents set for their children. Wearing ripped jeans is not our culture but aping westernisation,” he said.
Rights activists and the opposition Congress slammed the CM over his comments.
“Don’t know what has happened to the CM. Is it lack of wisdom or lack of education or is he doing it deliberately? First, he made a derogatory statement on the attire of women, and then he made a highly insulting statement on producing children”, Congress spokesperson Garima Dasauni said.