'Holding any festival dangerous, not advisable': Top medical body chief's warning amid 3rd COVID wave fears
As the threat of a possible third wave of COVID-19 is looming, the IMA chief on Monday advised against holding any festival, warning that it can be "dangerous".
"Holding any festival is not advisable as it can be dangerous," Indian Medical Association (IMA) president, Dr JA Jayalal told news agency ANI.
Jayalal further said that the top medical body requests the Central government to reconsider its decision regarding any kind of mass gatherings.
The IMA chief's warning comes on a day Puri in Odisha and Ahmedabad in Gujarat took out the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. However, the annual procession was held without public participation.
Jayalal also opposed the Kanwar Yatra of Lord Shiva in view of the possible third wave of COVID-19. Kanwar Yatra was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kanwar Yatra begins in late July with the onset of the Hindu month of Shravan and goes on till early August covering a period of nearly a fortnight.
Scores of devotees of Lord Shiva - commonly known as Kanwariyas - mainly from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh embark on Kanwar Yatra every year to collect holy waters of the Ganga river in Uttarakhand's Haridwar for "Jalabhishek" in Lord Shiva temples.
Donning orange-coloured clothes, the devotees visit Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and fetch waters of river Ganga and later offer the holy waters to Lord Shiva in temples in their areas.
The Uttar Pradesh government has this year allowed the annual yatra from July 25. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanth asked the state officials concerned to ensure strict compliance of the COVID protocol.
The Uttarakhand government is yet to take a decision on the Kanwar Yatra. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had recently said that a final decision on the yatra would be taken only in consultation with the governments of neighbouring states.
He also hinted that the state government might now allow the Kanwar Yatra amid their wave fears and said that God wouldn't like it if people lose their lives to COVID-19.
"We are just a host state. Over three crore Kawariyas visit the state in 15 days. It's a matter of faith but people's lives are also at stake. Saving lives is our first priority. God would not like it if people lost their lives to COVID due to Kanwar Yatra," he had said.