After the Kumbh Mela, BJP Govt in Uttarakhand announced that the Chaar Dham Yatra will be held from 14th May stating, “The government is making all possible arrangements for the Char Dham Yatra and will take a call on it after the lockdown in the state’s different parts ends on May 3,” said by Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj. This is despite the 1800% increase in Uttarkhand’s active COVID-19 cases in the period corresponding with the Kumbh Mela, and the state government has given its green signal to hold the annual Char Dham yatra from May 14.
The Chardham Yatra (four abodes) is an annual pilgrimage to the holy shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. Over the generations, lakhs of people attend this yatra but the attendance had fallen last year, given the COVID-19 situation. It was recorded over 38 lakh pilgrims in 2019, while only 4.2 lakh visited in 2020.
The Uttarakhand government has prepared a draft of the SOPs and some of the likely conditions include e-registration, limiting numbers at the shrines, mandatory negative RT-PCR test. The draft SOP also emphasizes online donation, bars entry into the sanctorum, and bans offerings such as ghee and flowers. The government has yet to take a call on the number of pilgrims to be allowed in the temple premises of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, reported ET
“We have made negative RT-PCR reports mandatory for Char Dham Yatra to ensure that the infection does not spread,” said Satpal Maharaj, Tourism Minister of Uttarakhand.
The Yatra is a matter of faith and we are committed to provide every facility to the pilgrims from all over the world, “ said Uttarakhand’s Tourism,” said Satpal Maharaj, Tourism Minister of Uttarakhand.
The irresponsiblity of the BJP Uttarakhand government is evident for many reasons:
There is a recorded 1800% increase in COVID cases in Uttarkhand and it is suspected that the COVID related deaths are cloaked as was the case in different states of India and the truth only came out when it became a catastrophe.
The Kumbh Mela found over 1,700 people testing positive for COVID-19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from April 10 to 14 (5 days) which eventually led to thinning out of crowds with main akhadas of seers began withdrawing from the Maha Kumbh, due to the surge in coronavirus numbers leaving many spots looking marooned.
While religious bodies claim that they are suceptible to the virus, the reality is no one is exempt and every third person is catching the virus, and while approximately 60% may be potential carriers without getting infected, 40% will get infected and a large multitude either elderly or with weaker immune systems will succumb and die. So it is sheer irresponsiblity and indifference endangering the lives of others that make such hold these ceromonies.
Such are burdening the already collapsing Indian medical infrastructure and being callous to the pain of doctors, nurses and millions of COVID warriors helping on the frontlines, and even with all that help, it is not enough. In the face of this, when the entire globe is calling out to distance, isolate, when the Uttarakhand wants to hold a yatra of this magitude, it reveals they don’t care about the lives of people nor the medical warriors who are exhausted, fighting in the forefront.
Over 2000 in Uttarakhand have lost their lives to COVID but suspected much more because unfortunately, COVID deaths are cloaked and not revealed in data. Time will tell the exact number when cases soar up. The virus does not look at religion, nation, class or caste. In fact, the death of a Kumbh Mela returnee has spread fear among locals of Dhalapur village in Boudh district, the 62-year-old deceased was a retired Sanskrit teacher in Dhalapur.
Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, told a news conference. “The exponential growth that we have seen in case numbers is really, truly astonishing, we have seen similar trajectories of increases in transmission in a number of countries, it has not been at the same scale and it has not had the same level of impact of burden on the healthcare system that we have seen in India.”
Meanwhile, India reported over 3.6 lakh cases and 3293 deaths just in one day. The triple mutant B.1.617 is suspected to be the new culprit for the sudden rise in cases and deaths. The second wave was already predicted o happen and if it starts to explode in India, the situation is going to be out of control like an atom bomb and India would become a red-hot zone.
It would be particularly nearly impossible to manage the virus and this would affect eventually everyone around the globe. Despite travel restrictions, COVID tests, and quarantine implemented, the virus is still leaking out. A single flight finds most passengers testing positive for COVID-19.
“WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies,” Tedros told a briefing.
The WHO has redeployed 2,600 staff members from other programs in India to help support the effort to fight the disease, he said, citing figures provided last Friday.
India has also ordered its armed forces on Monday to help tackle mounting new coronavirus infections which the hospital infrastructures are unable to manage the surging invasion of the virus.
India’s high population of 1.37 billion has seen less than 10% of its population have their first dose of the vaccine and less than 2% are fully vaccinated. India too is home to the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer – but still struggling for vaccines.
Presently, the massive collecive burials and cremations all over the nation show us that COVID is raging over India wildly. Back in history, the most fatal pandemic bubonic plague which caused the death of 75–200 million people, called the Black Plague ended through the implementation of quarantines.
We cannot quarantine India but we have to stop crowds and quarantine hot spots. India is in a war! A war against Corona, and we cannot fight this war by having different rules for different groups of people. We cannot fight this war with the world who are sending money and help to India, but India in turn still stubbornl wants to hold mega yatras and melas and rallies. If so, then India has chosen the path of self destruction.