Shooter Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, raised questions and concerns over the decision to carry on with the Haridwar Kumbh Mela despite an upsurge in the COVID-19 infection cases and increasing severity of the pandemic situation. Bindra stated, “a virus does not discriminate between religions”.
With lakhs of devotees converging at Haridwar for a dip in the holy river Ganga, Kumbh Mela is being seen as a potential superspreader for the rise in cases. Between 10 April to 14 April, the official figures placed the number of infected at 1701.
In response to a tweet by wrestler Yogeshwar Dut, Bindra raised the question that should the Kumbh Mela be even held amidst this worrying situation and while an infectious pandemic lays waste to India?
Bronze medal winner in the 60kg freestyle category at the 2012 London Olympics, Yogeshwar Dutt, supported the conduct of the event through social media to which Bindra responded.
Yogeshwar Dutt had tweeted.
““No one in the Kumbh Mela is reaching there illegally, people are following all protocols, no one is spitting at the security and medical staff, no one is running away after hiding from the administration. Stop defaming the peaceful devotees at Kumbh,”
Bindra criticized Yogeshwar Dutt, now a member of the ruling BJP party, for supporting the conduct of a massive gathering.
On Tuesday, the biggest daily spike was recorded with 2,34,692 fresh COVID-19 fresh cases reported all over the country.
Several people involved in the organization of the Massive Kumbh festival have also been infected so far. Mahant Narendra Giri, President of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, has been hospitalized at AIIMS, Rishikesh for after he tested positive whereas Swami Kapil Dev, Mahamandaleshwar of Maha Nirvani Akhara from Madhya Pradesh died on 13 April 2021. He was under treatment for COVID-19.
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