Haridwar: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeal that the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar should now have symbolic participation, Swami Avdheshanand, Chief of Juna Akhada, on Saturday called off celebrations. “The Kumbh Mela is now concluded for Juna Akhara,” Swami Avdheshanand Giri said. PM Narendra Modi had earlier spoken to him, requesting that Kumbh Mela should now only be symbolic, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.Also Read - Cannes 2022: PM Modi Hails India as Country of Honour, Says 'Cinema Showcases Human Emotions'

Modi tweeted that he had spoke to Swami Avdheshanand Giri of Juna Akhara over telephone and enquired about the health of saints, many of whom have contracted the infection, and also conveyed his appreciation for their cooperation with the local administration. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Congratulates Indian Contingent For Best-Ever Performance At Deaflympics

“I prayed that two ”shahi snan” have taken place and Kumbh (participation) should now be kept symbolic. This will boost the fight against this crisis,” the prime minister tweeted in Hindi. Also Read - PSI Recruitment Scam: Candidates Write Letter in Blood to PM Modi, Threaten to Join Terror Group if Denied Justice

Responding to Modi’s call, Avdheshanand urged people to not come to the Kumbh mela for bathing in large numbers due to the COVID-19 situation and to follow the rules. Saving one’s and other’s lives is sacred, he added.

The ongoing Kumbh, which has seen people from different parts of the country attending the auspicious event in large numbers, has drawn flak from various quarters as the number of COVID-19 cases has zoomed at a rapid pace in the past few weeks. The event has also reported the coronavirus cases in large numbers.

The ongoing Kumbh has already been shortened this year to just one month from April 1 to 30 due to the pandemic. In normal circumstances, the event, which comes once in 12 years, is held from mid January to April.

(With agency inputs)