Throwing caution to the wind amid rising cases of coronavirus, lakhs of people have been congregating on the ghats in Haridwar to take a dip in the Ganga during the ongoing Kumbh Mela.
Social distancing norms are being openly violated by the seers when they and their followers descend the steps at Har ki Pauri to wade into the river. No masks were worn by a large proportion of them. The shahi snans and the Kumbh mela, in general, have triggered concerns over their role in possibly adding to rising coronavirus cases in the country.
Random tests among the sadhu at the akhadas indicate a coronavirus positivity rate of nearly 4 per cent. So far, 19 of the 500 samples from the mela site have come back positive.
Social media is witnessing a consistent public demand to stop the mela right away. However, there are also those who believe that the mela should be carried on and no one should interfere with faith.
During such a controversial time, Mr Harsh Goenka, Chairman of RPG Group which holds the company CEAT Tyres, has come under fire on Twitter for cracking a joke about Sadhus at the Kumbh Mela.
Mr Goenka has now deleted the tweet but it has already gone viral and attracted a lot of negative attention on Twitter. His tweet is being seen as Hinduphobic. His previous jokes related to Hinduism are also being shared widely on Twitter.
While some believe that a joke should not be taken seriously, most have taken offence and called for boycotting CEAT Tyres.
Here's what people are saying.
With inputs from PTI.