PRAYAGRAJ: Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed that Kumbh Mela at Haridwar should now only be ‘symbolic’ due to the Covid crisis, the head of Kashi-based Juna Akhada, Mahamandaleshwar Swami Avdheshanand Giri said human lives are more important than faith and announced an early conclusion of the religious congregation at Haridwar for the Akhada on Saturday.
Earlier, the Prime Minister had called Swami Avdheshanand Giri and enquired about the health of seers who recently tested Covid positive and tweeted, “Spoke to Acharya Mahamandaleshwar pujya Swami Avdheshanand Giri ji on the phone today. Inquired about the health of all seers. All saints are supporting the administration in every way possible. I thanked the seer community for this.”
#Uttarakhand: Juna akhada calls for end to #KumbhMela for their seers.#Covid19Pandemic https://t.co/8dtK7ld2Vp
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Later in the day, Swami Avdheshanand tweeted, “Bhaarat ki janata va uski jeevan raksha humari pehli praathamikta hai. Mahamari ke badhte prakop ko dekhte hue humne vidhivat Kumbh ke aavaahit samast devataon ka visarjan kar diya hai. Juna Akhada ki ore se yah Kumbh ka vidhivat visarjan-samaapan hai. (People of the country and their lives are our first priority. In view of the surge in cases, we have performed the visarjan of all the gods we had invoked for Kumbh. This is the end of Kumbh for Juna Akhada).”
The seer, in a video, also appealed to other seers to heed to the PM’s advice and only attend the remaining two snans symbolically. The general secretary of Juna Akhada, the largest monastic order, Hari Giri told TOI in Prayagraj, “Most seers will leave early next week and will keep only symbolic presence till the last snan on April 27. Seers of the Nirvani Akhada will also leave after April 19.”
“Around 2,000 members of our Akhada have given samples for RTPCR test and the results are expected by Sunday noon. We have decided our members would leave Haridwar Kumbh by early next week and only few members would stay behind till the formal end of the religious congregation on April 27,” added Giri.
Juna Akhada is the largest among the 13 recognised religious monastic order of the country with the highest number of members.
Likewise, Kinnar Akhada, which is part of Juna Akhada, has closed the gates of its camp at Haridwar Kumbh for devotees. “Only few members had tested positive and were quarantined as per protocol, but we have decided not to allow any visitor in our camp and are taking all precautions as per government guidelines”, said Mahamandaleshwar Pavitra Maharaj.
Authorities of Shri Panchayati Akhada Mahanirvani, which has its headquarters in Prayagraj, have decided to stay back till next snan (April 19) after which they will also start leaving.
“After attending all three shahi snans, the Akhada has decided that most of us would be leaving after April 19,” said general secretary of Shri Panchayati Akhada Mahanirvani, Swami Januma Giri.
He added that Kumbh is already witnessing very thin attendance because of the corona crisis as the number of cases are increasing across the country.