Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut today said that the people returning from the Kumbh mela in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, will turn out to be potential carriers of COVID-19 infection which will “cause havoc”.
Mr Raut’s comments came a day after hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees, many without masks, flocked on Monday to take a holy bath in Ganges river in Haridwar, even as the nation racked up the world’s highest tally of new daily coronavirus infections.
Thousands of saffron-clad seers also disregarded COVID-19 norms and converged at Har Ki Pairi in the holy town in Uttarakhand for a holy dip during the second royal bath of the Kumbh Mela.
“It is painful for the Shiv Sena to put restrictions on our festivals and religious celebrations but the party dares to do so to save the lives of people. Our priority is to save as many lives as possible. I believe that people coming from the Kumbh mela will cause further spread of COVID-19 cases, which will cause havoc,” Mr Raut said.
Earlier in the day, Mumbai guardian minister and Congress leader Aslam Shaikh said the state government will also have to decide guidelines regarding the people returning from Kumbh mela as COVID-19-appropriate behaviour was not followed at the congregation.
Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities. As of Monday, the caseload in the state stood at 34,58,996 while the overall death count is 58,245, as per the state health department.