Uttrakhand- On the holy occasion of Chitra Purnima, thousands of people gathered to take a holy dip in the river Ganga, the last 'Shahi Snan' of the ongoing Kumbh Mela 2021 in Haridwar, Uttrakhand.
Chitra Purnima is a holy day for the Hindu Community which is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Chaitra, which is considered to be the first month of the year according to the Hindu calendar. It is a festival dedicated to Chitragupta, a Hindu god who is tasked with recording the good and bad deeds committed by humans by Yama, the Hindu god of death and the underworld. On this day, devotees take a dip in the river asking Chitragupta to redeem them from their sins.
During this holy event, the devotees have been seen openly flouting COVID-19 protocols like not wearing masks and failing to maintain social distance. This is nothing new as the Mahakumbh Mela has repeatedly made headlines for people failing to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and have received tremendous backlash from various section of people in the society.
The first Shahi Snan was held on the occasion of Mahashivratri on March 11 while the second and the third were held on April 12 and 14 respectively. On the occasion of the Baisakhi Snan on April 14, about 9.5 lakh devotees from various 'akharas' took a dip in Ganga where reports of violation of COVID-19 protocols had been widely reported.
The Kumbh Mela has been seen as a super spreader event due to which hundreds of people contracted this daily virus including former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the former king of Nepal Gyanendra Sha who tested positive after attending the Kumbh Mela.
On April 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to observe the event as "symbolic" to strengthen the fight against the deadly virus.
Shravan Rathod, the famous music composer from the Nadeem Shravan duo succumbed to the COVID-19 infection after contracting this deadly infectious disease upon returning from the Kumbh Mela along with his wife, who too tested positive.
Meanwhile, India on Monday reported 3.23 lakh fresh COVID-19 cases taking the total caseload of the country to over 1.76 crores. 2,771 COVID-induced deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours with the total death toll now amounting to over 1.97 lakhs. There are over 28.74 lakh active cases of the novel coronavirus in the country. However, India finally saw a downward spiral in the number of COVID-19 cases with 8.4% fewer cases than the previous day. It is the sixth consecutive day that over 3 lakh cases have been reported in the country.