By Anushree Fadnavis And Saurabh Sharma
Haridwar, India (Reuters) – Thousands of Hindu devotees drowned in the country’s Ganges river as one of the country’s biggest religious festivals on Thursday, even as authorities made the biggest spike in coronary virus cases for three months. gave information.
Hindu Sadhus known as Naga Sadhus, carrying a number of nude and swords or tridents in addition to a coating of ashes, led bathing people to the Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival in the northern city of Haridwar.
Officials said that at this year’s event, all participants running until the end of April are required to submit a negative coronavirus test result before being allowed into the festive grounds. But there was no evidence of social disturbances on Thursday as bathing men were placed on the riverbank.
Righteous Hindus believe that bathing in the waters of the Ganges relieves the sins of the people, and liberates from the cycle of life and death during the Kumbh Mela.
Police bathed in the Holy River at 0800 local time (0230 GMT), with police overseeing the festival telling Reuters partner ANI that the number was expected to increase throughout the day.
Officials said that more than 100 million people attended the festival in 2019, the last time it was held, a figure most expected would be lower this year.
After nearly three months of lockdown last year which was the world’s harshest, India has relaxed almost all restrictions on the movement since a peak in cases in September, including the reopening of huge stadiums for cricket matches. Incorporated, one of the nation’s national passions.
However, the number of COVID-19 cases in India is increasing again, reporting it the most daily new infections among the top five countries.
Officials on Thursday reported 22,854 new infections, the highest in nearly three months, taking the nation’s total to 11.3 million. Data from the Ministry of Health showed that the number of deaths increased from 126 to 158,189.
(Reporting by Anushree Fadnavis in Haridwar and Saurabh Sharma in Lucknow; Additional reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru, written by Alsadair Pal; Editing by Karishma Singh and Jane Wardell)
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