Many seers showing Covid-19 symptoms: Two of 13 akhadas opt out of Kumbh Mela

Two of the 13 akhadas of seers participating in the Kumbh Mela taking place in Uttarakhand's Haridwar -- Niranjani Akhada and Tapo Nidhi Shri Anand Akhada -- on Thursday decided to opt-out of the event citing the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the state.

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Devotees take a holy dip in the Ganga during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. (File photo: PTI)

Niranjani Akhada and Tapo Nidhi Shri Anand Akhada, two of the 13 akhadas of seers participating in the Kumbh Mela taking place in Uttarakhand's Haridwar, on Thursday decided to opt-out of the event citing the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the state.

"30 Sadhus have tested positive for Covid-19 so far, in Haridwar," Haridwar Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr SK Jha told news agency ANI on Friday.

Dr Jha went on to add, "Medical teams are going to akhadas and RT-PCR tests of sadhus are being done continuously. The process will be further quickened from April 17."

Both the akhadas will wrap up their cantonments on April 17.

"The main Shahi Snan held on the occasion of Mesh Sankranti on April 14 is over. Many in our akhada are showing Covid-19 symptoms. So, for us the Kumbh Mela is over," news agency PTI quoted Niranjani Akhada secretary Ravindra Puri as saying.

Rising cases of coronavirus infection in Uttarakhand has spared none with several seers testing positive.

President of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad Narendra Giri is reportedly undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at AIIMS-Rishikesh while Mahamandaleshwar of Maha Nirwani Akhada from Madhya Pradesh Swami Kapil Dev who was suffering from Covid-19 died at a private hospital on April 13.

Meanwhile, with 2,220 fresh cases in last 24 hours, Uttarakhand on Thursday recorded its highest single-day tally of Covid-19 infections since the beginning of the outbreak of the pandemic.

The ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar has been shortened this year to just one month from April 1 to 30 due to Covid.

In normal circumstances, the event which comes once in 12 years, is held for nearly four months from mid-January to April.

(with PTI inputs)