With 2.6 Lakh New Covid Cases in India, Abhinav Bindra breaks down the Kumbh wrestler’s defense

New Delhi: On the day India added 260,533 new COVID-19 cases and 1,492 deaths to its growing tally, the country’s only Olympic gold medalist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, questioned the decision to sue the Haridwar Kumbh Mela , claiming that a virus does not. discriminate between religions ”.

The Kumbh Mela is seen as a potential super-spreader with lakhs of worshipers converging in Haridwar for a dip in the Ganga River. Official figures for the period April 10-14 put the number of people infected at 1,701.

Bindra asked on Twitter if the Kumbh should “even take place while an infectious pandemic devastates India,” adding: “A virus does not discriminate between religions.”

He was responding to a tweet from wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, now a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Dutt, who won the bronze medal in the 60kg freestyle category at the London 2012 Olympics, recently tweeted a defense of the event amid mounting criticism that the government had seriously erred in allowing the Kumbh to take place despite the dramatic surge in competition. coronavirus infections across India.

Dutt claimed that “peaceful devotees” were vilified and that they “followed all protocols”.

He also said: “No one spits on security and medical personnel, no one runs away after hiding from the administration,” he tweeted.

In line with the BJP’s attempt to dismiss any comparison between the Kumbh Mela and the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi last March – which was labeled a coronavirus hotspot after a number of cases were detected there – the tweet from Dutt recycled some of the myths spread on social media by right-wing grips and pro-government media at the height of the Jamaat hysteria.

As for his claim that protocols are being followed, Haridwar reporters have documented the near absence of masks and the collapse of official measures supposedly in place to ensure that only those who test negative for Covid arrive at Kumbh.

In her response to Dutt’s tweet, Bindra went on to criticize the wrestler for giving his support to the conduct of this massive rally.

“ Athletes are known to keep their eye on the ball, their unwavering focus and not get distracted by what is most important right now – saving lives, finding cures that can work and being compassionate and empathy 4 those who lose loved ones. We are failing the whole sports community with this, ” the famous shooter said.

Dutt’s defense of the Kumbh came even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi – whose government urged pilgrims to attend the event through advertisements – finally turned around, claiming attendance at the Hindu festival should be ‘symbolic“. Following his appeal, Swami Avdheshanand of Juna Akhara in Haridwar called on the devotees to keep the COVID-19 situation in mind, they should refrain from taking the sacred plunge in large numbers and abide by all protocols:

Modi and Avdheshanand’s appeal follows the mahamandaleshwar of Maha Nirvani Akhara of Madhya Pradesh, Swami Kapil Dev, succumbing to COVID-19 on April 13. Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad President Mahant Narendra Giri has been admitted to AIIMS, Rishikesh after testing positive for the disease last week.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, who said faith and “ Maa Ganga ” would protect pilgrims in Haridwar from coronavirus, has himself tested positive for COVID.

With inputs from PTI