Juna Akhara, other sects heed PM's call, end Kumbh pilgrimage

Juna Akhara, other sects heed PM's call, end Kumbh pilgrimage

Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha President Swami Avdheshanand Giri (Credit :@AvdheshanandG/twitter)

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to observe the ongoing 'Kumbh Mela' in a "symbolic" way, the 'Juna Akhara' on Saturday concluded the annual event from its side ensuring that other saints linked to different Akharas also agree to end the holy pilgrimage. Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha President Swami Avdheshanand Giri made the announcement through his Twitter handle and a video, declaring "the Kumbh Mela is now concluded for Juna Akhara". "On the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Juna Akhara have decided to end Kumbh. The Gods whom we had invoked have been duly immersed. Other saints from different Akharas are also agreeing," Avdheshanand said. "Those saints who have to take part in the 'Shahi Snan' in the coming days will participate in it symbolically. Whole country is united after the call of Prime Minister. The whole country gets free from Covid-19. I am praying for world's welfare from Kumbh Mela." Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to observe the 'Kumbh Mela' event in a "symbolic" manner to strengthen the fight against the deadly virus in view of reports of a large number of Covid positive cases from the event area in Uttarakhand's Haridwar. The Prime Minister's appeal comes as the event has sparked nationwide concern amid the alarming second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as tens of thousands of devotees have gathered along the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar. Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister said that he spoke to Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj over the phone and made an appeal about the event. "I spoke to Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Swami Awadheshanand Giri on the phone on Saturday morning and got details about the health of all saints. I have prayed that two royal baths have taken place and that the Kumbh should be kept symbolic due to the crisis in Corona. This will give the fight strength from this crisis," the Prime Minister said. Modi thanked all the saints for giving support to the administration. Following this, the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president tweeted: "We respect Prime Minister's appeal. I request the people to not come for snan in large numbers, in the wake of Covid-19 situation, and follow all rules." The Prime Minister's appeal came after a Hindu seer reportedly lost his life after Covid-19 infection and nearly 100 other holy men tested positive after attending the religious festival where a huge number of pilgrims have been ignoring Covid-19 advice despite a national surge in infections. India reported 2,34,692 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest single-day spike ever, taking the overall tally to 14,526,609 cases on Saturday, according to the Health Ministry data.

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