Thousands of devotees gathered at Uttarakhand's Haridwar on Sunday to offer prayers during the Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious congregations in the world.
Several were seen without masks, flouting COVID-19 norms put in place by the health ministry. Haridwar registered 372 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday (April 11), ahead of the 'Shahi Snan' on Monday, a ritual that is part of the ongoing Maha Kumbh, held once every 12 years at each of India's four river-bank pilgrimage sites.
Uttarakhand currently has 7,323 active coronavirus cases, 1,08,812 confirmed cases, while the death toll stands at 1,760 to date.
No masks, social distancing at Haridwar MahaKumbh 2021
Massive crowds of devotees gathered at the Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar, with several without masks or complying with social distancing protocols. At least nine people were found COVID-19 positive during random testing at Har Ki Pauri on Sunday.
Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president, Mahant Narendra Giri Maharaj also tested positive for coronavirus. The seer is in solitary confinement inside his ashram.
आज हरिद्वार में नरेंद्र गिरि जी के आश्रम में उनके आशीर्वाद के कुछ सौभाग्यशाली क्षण। pic.twitter.com/bYrQBFgS8P— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) April 11, 2021
'Shahi Snan' today
Members of 13 akhadas will visit Haridwar for 'Shahi Snan' on Monday. The state administration has allotted time for each of the seven "Sanyasi" akhadas, three 'Vaishnav" akhadas, and three 'Bairagi' akhadas to participate in 'Shahi Snan' between 8.30 pm and 3 pm.
महाकुंभ के सोमवती अमावस्या के शाही स्नान से पहले हरिद्वार में हर की पौड़ी पर नियमों की धज्जियां उड़ी। बिना मास्क उमड़ी भीड़, सोशल डिस्टेंसिंग का भी उल्लंघन। हरिद्वार में आज 300 से ज्यादा मामले सामने आए। घाटों पर रैंडम टेस्टिंग में आज 9 लोग पाज़िटिव पाए गए। pic.twitter.com/8F7XkP7M5O— ASHUTOSH MISHRA (@JournoAshutosh) April 11, 2021
Simultaneously, taking a bath at the Har Ki Pauri Brahmakund will be proscribed from 8 am until the time all akhadas have concluded the 'Shahi Snan'. The general public will be permitted to bathe at any other ghat during this time.
Over 7,000 COVID-19 cases in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand registered 1,333 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday along with eight more coronavirus-related deaths. Dehradun constituted 582 of the cases, followed by Haridwar with 372, Nainital with 122, Udham Singh Nagar with 104, Pauri Garhwal with 49 and Tehri with 44.
The Centre had earlier this month directed the Uttarakhand government to take stern measures to enforce COVID-appropriate behaviour in Haridwar during the ongoing Maha Kumbh.