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Don’t Hassle Mahakumbh Pilgrims Over Covid-19 Test: Shankaracharya Tells Uttarakhand Govt

Naga Sadhus take a dip at Ganga river at "Kumbh Mela" in Haridwar. (Reuters)

Naga Sadhus take a dip at Ganga river at "Kumbh Mela" in Haridwar. (Reuters)

According to Shankaracharya, the government is trying to reduce the number of pilgrims by slapping new Covid-19 guidelines.

The government of Uttarakhand has issued strict guidelines to stop the spread of coronavirus during the Mahakumbh Mela in Haridwar. The state government has made it mandatory for the devotees to bring their Covid-19 test reports, issued 72 hours before to participate in the pilgrimage.

Jagatguru Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati has, however, raised questions on this decision by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government. Jagadguru Shankaracharya who reached Haridwar said that it seems from the government’s stand that coronavirus operates at the behest of the government. He alleged that the government increases the Covid-19 figures when it wants and reduces them as per its fancy.

According to Shankaracharya, the Mahakumbh, which takes place after 12 years, is a unique event for the Hindu religion but the government is trying to reduce the number of pilgrims by slapping new Covid-19 guidelines.

He further stated that the government forgets about the Covid-19 during the time of elections. Questioning the decisions of the central and state government, he said, “Where did the coronavirus go in the states where elections were held? How did the coronavirus make a comeback as soon as the elections were over?”

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The religious leader said that these incidents prove that Covid-19 is under the government's clutches. He warned the government that the devotees should be allowed to come without any restrictions and only then they can become a part of the virtue of Kumbh.

The condition of the Covid-19 test report is also troubling the devotees and the government should not obstruct the bathing of devotees in the biggest pilgrimage of Hindus, he added.

Keywords: Mahakumbh, Mahakumbh mela, coronavirus, covid-19, covid-19 test, Haridwar