Calcutta HC Asks West Bengal Govt to Respond to Plea to Cancel ‘Gangasagar Mela’

In the wake of the sudden Covid-19 surge across the country, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday asked the State government to respond to a plea to cancel ‘Gangasagar Mela’ in West Bengal by 2 pm tomorrow.

This year ‘Gangasagar Mela’ was supposed to be held between January 8 and January 16 where lakhs of devotees from all across the country visit Sagar Island in South 24-Parganas district to take the holy dip and to pray at the famous Kapil Muni Ashram.

On Wednesday, the matter has come up for hearing and while going through the plea, a Calcutta High Court Bench comprising of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Kesang Doma Bhuria asked the West Bengal government to clear their stand by January 6 on whether they want to go ahead with the Gangasagar Mela or not.

The Bench, while seeking State Government response, also observed, “Having regard to the severity of the infection, we expect that the State will take a decision keeping in view the larger public interest…”

While expressing concern about a large number of doctors and policemen getting infected with the virus, the Bench observed, “We expect the State Government to take a decision keeping in mind that the virus spreads through droplets and here pilgrims will be taking a dip in the River Ganges during the Gangasagar Mela. Under such circumstances, we believe that the State government will take an appropriate decision.”

Recently, Dr Avinandan Mondal, a city-based doctor, moved Calcutta High Court through his lawyers with a plea to cancel the Gangasagar Mela because it could lead to infections among lakhs of pilgrims.

The matter will be heard tomorrow and its outcome is extremely important considering how ‘Kumbh Mela’ in Haridwar turned out to be a ‘super-spreader event’ during the second wave.

The Gangasar Mela comes close on the heels of Christmas and New Year celebrations where a large number of people were seen violating Covid-19 norms at various picnic spots, restaurants and tourist spots.

Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Sagar Island and held a meeting with the administrative officials to get a first-hand report on the preparedness of Gangasagar Mela.

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