Covid-19 detains outsiders, only locals allowed for Kartik Poornima bath in Haridwar
The administration in Haridwar allowed local people to take ritual baths in the various Ganges ghats on the occasion of the Kartik Poornima on Monday after Akhada Parishad, Ganga Sabha, priests and merchant organizations insisted that locals be allowed bathing.
The administration had previously ordered a total ban on the holidays due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in Uttarakhand. Typically thousands of people come to the ritual baths, but this time due to restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only 40,000 to 50,000 local residents showed up.
As soon as the news of the exemption spread, local people began to crowd the Ganges ghats from early morning.
In the sanctum sanctorum of Brahamkund, local pilgrims from Har-Ki-Pauri and adjacent Ganges ghats were seen bathing in the river.
According to District Magistrate C Ravi Shankar, locals were allowed strict adherence to and guidelines of the social distancing rules on the Ganges ghats.
The Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad and Ganga Sahha had condemned the state government’s move to impose a blanket ban on the Kartik Poornima holiday bath for devotees.
A delegation from Ganga Sabha and local merchants had also met with Uttarakahnd Urban Development Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik to press their demand.
“Kartik Poornima is an important holiday bath in the Hindu holiday calendar dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is also the last holiday bath of the year. Earlier, Somwati Amawasya’s Holiday Bath and Kanwar Fair were canceled by the administration. While election rallies are allowed, why are only spiritual religious occasions attacked? said Akhada Parishad Secretary General Mahant Hari Giri Maharaj.
While the locals were lucky enough to take a dip in the Ganges, the police turned away pilgrims from other states who were heading to Haridwar for a ritual bath.
The Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand border posts at Chidiyapur, Kali Nadi, Mandawar, Narsain were barricaded all day.
“As the Kartik Poornima bath has been canceled, pilgrims from other states were not allowed into the district area. Only people who came for some other purpose and had supporting documents, patients, official work and marriages were allowed, ”said Shyampur (SHO) Station Officer Deepak Kathait.
Ganga Sabha also made sure that pilgrims adhered to social distancing and wore masks on a mandatory basis.
“We thank the administration for allowing local pilgrims and pilgrims from other states to come for the ash dip and pre-scheduled religious events. Approximately 40 to 50 thousand pilgrims came to Har-Ki-Pauri, Malviya ghat, Subash ghat, Vishnu ghat, Kushawrat ghat, Nai Sota and the adjacent Ganga ghats, ”said Ganga Sabha President Pradeep Jha.
City Police Superintendent Kamlesh Upadhyay said a meeting was held at the Har-Ki-Pauri police post on Sunday evening with representatives from the Ganga Sabha office, teerth purohits, police officers and local merchants about Kartik Poornima’s restrictive holiday bathroom amid social distancing.