New Delhi, April 17, 2021: Have requested Swami Avdheshanand Giri to keep participation in the ongoing Maha Kumbh symbolic going further, PM Narendra Modi said in a tweet. The Prime Minister spoke to Swami Avdheshanand Giri, mahant of the Juna Akhada on Saturday to inquire about the health of seers who recently tested positive for Covid-19 in Haridwar.
"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," he said.
At least 1,701 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past five days at the Haridwar Kumbh Mela.
The Prime Minister went on to say that during his conversation with the mahant of Juna Akhada, he pointed out that two ’shahi snans’ (royal baths) have already taken place and the participation of seers in the remaining days of the Maha Kumbh in Haridwar should be symbolic. This will strengthen the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, said PM Modi.
In response, Swami Avdheshanand Giri said he respects the Prime Minister’s sentiments and urged the people to adhere to Covid-19 norms at the Maha Kumbh.
He also urged people to not come to the Kumbh Mela for bathing in large numbers.
"To protect ourselves and others is sacred. My request to the religion-adhering public is to follow Covid-19 norms in this situation," said the mahant of Juna Akhada.
Swami Avdheshanand Giri, however, did not comment on whether the Juna Akhada and other akhadas will decide to participate in ’symbolically’ in the remaining days of the Maha Kumbh or end the Maha Kumbh before the prescribed date of April 30.This phone call came less than 24 hours after seers of other akhadas demanded an apology from the Niranjani Akhada for announcing the "end of the Kumbh" after its mahant Ravindra Puri tested positive for coronavirus.