Mr Rawat also stressed that the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar should not be compared with the Nizamuddin Markaz which was held in a closed space and attended even by foreigners.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat made another contentious statment on Tuesday when he said that the Coronavirus will not spread among the attendees of Kumbh Mela with Maa Ganga’s (Mother Ganges) blessings. Mr Rawat also stressed that the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar should not be compared with the Nizamuddin Markaz which was held in a closed space and attended even by foreigners.
“There should be no comparison between Kumbh and Markaz. The Markaz was held in a closed space, in a Kothi like structure whereas the Kumbh is being held in the open on the sprawling ghats of the Ganga,” the Uttarakhand CM said in an interview with Hindustan Times.
The recently appointed Chief Minister of Uttarakhand was responding to a question as to why the two religious events should not be equated (Nizamuddin Markaz and Kumbh) as Kumbh Mela also garners crowds and could strengthen the second wave of the coronavirus infection.
Mr Rawat, differentiating between the two events, said: “The devotees attending Kumbh are not from outside but our own people.”
“Moreover, when the Markaz was held there was not much awareness about Corona nor were there any guidelines. No one knew for how long the attendees of the Markaz had remained in the confines of the structure,” the BJP leader said.
“Now there is more awareness both about Covid and the guidelines related to it,” he added.
The Chief Minister also said that the Kumbh comes once in 12 years and is linked with the faith and sentiments of millions of people.
“Holding it successfully amid the challenge posed by Covid-19 by ensuring that the SOP is strictly followed by all is our goal,” Mr Rawat said.
He also said that people’s health is a priority but matters of faith cannot be totally ignored.
“Cases have of course risen of late but we are following the health ministry guidelines and the recovery rate is good. Arrangements are also adequate to deal with any situation,” Mr Rawat said.
The chief minister further informed that largescale arrangements of masks and sanitisers have been made in the Mela area and the entire machinery is working day and night to ensure that the Covid guidelines are followed by everyone.
He said that people are being checked at the border points before being allowed to enter Haridwar and attend the Mela, while there are also arrangements for the random testing of people.