Haridwar, Apr 17: Differences has emerged over ending the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar owing to the spike in Covid-19 cases as a section of akharas (order of saints) objected to the “unilateral” declaration by the Niranjani Akhara to pull out of the religious congregation.
Niranjani Akhara, an influential order of saints, had on Thursday evening announced the end of its participation in the Kumbh Mela from April 17. Shri Panchayati Akhara and Anand Akhara also declared an end to their respective participation in the once-in-12 years congregation.
Seers belonging to the Nirvani Akhara, Nirmohi Akhara and Digambar Akharas raised strong objections to the announcement to end the Kumbh Mela on April 17 by the Niranjani Akhara.
Mahant Rajendra Das of the Nirmohi Akhara accused seers of other akharas of spreading Covid-19 and flouting pandemic guidelines.
“None of the Bairagi akharas (Nirvani, Nirmohi and Digambar) have reported Covid-19 cases,” Das told the media in Haridwar.
He said the Uttarakhand government had announced that the Kumbh Mela would continue till April 30 and demanded an apology from the Niranjani Akhara for declaring that the congregation would end on April 17.
“It is dishonest to declare that the Kumbh has ended early. The Kumbh Parv is decided by the alignment of stars and planets. It will end on the full moon day (April 27),” Swami Avimuketeshwaranand said in Haridwar.
He said Covid-19 has spread across the country and there was no safer place to go to protect oneself from the infectious disease.
“It would be better if we stay at the Kumbh premises and follow physical distancing protocols and wear masks all the time,” Avimukteshwaranand, the disciple of Dwarkapeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati, said.
He said the religious discourses by the Shankaracharya have been suspended to avoid large gatherings at the mela premises.