Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 14 (IANS) A PIL has been filed before the Allahabad High Court, requesting it to direct the state government to restrict the number of devotees who will take a holy dip in the river Ganga during Magh Mela at Prayagraj.
The Magh Mela began on Friday with lakhs of devotees taking the holy dip at Sangam, the confluence point of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.
In the PIL, moved by one Utkarsh Mishra and others, it has been stated that the religious congregations in the past two years were found responsible for spreading the Covid virus all across the country.
In this backdrop of the situation, the PIL has sought a direction from the court to limit the participation in Magh Mela, which is also one of the bigger religious congregations in the world.
The PIL said that only seers of ‘akharas’ should be allowed to take the holy dip on the dates of the Shahi Snan to prevent a huge turnout of devotees, as anticipated on those auspicious dates.
It was also requested that RT-PCR tests should be made compulsory for the visiting devotees on arrival.
The PIL said that Kumbh Mela of Haridwar, held during the peak of the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, resulted in a spread of Covid infection and thus was voluntarily called off by the seers of various ‘akharas’.
The devotees who returned to their native places after visiting the Kumbh at Haridwar were found to be super-spreaders, the plea stated.
“Holding of such a large-scale event in the wake of Covid third wave is putting the residents of Prayagraj as well as Uttar Pradesh state in unnecessary risk. Besides, the Magh Mela event, which is of great religious importance and all the preparations like setting up of camps, electricity, water and sanitation has already been done, calling off of this religious event is not desirable at this high time,” it was submitted.