No crowd in Haridwar for Kumbh Mela? Fact-checking misleading video

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Despite India going through a extreme second wave of COVID-19, the central authorities didn’t ban non secular gathering for Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. About 35 lakh pilgrims have gathered on the banks of river Ganga to take a holy dip (Shahi Snan). According to reports, over 2,000 individuals and 30 sadhus examined coronavirus constructive in 5 days.

The mega congregation in the center of a pandemic has drawn flak for the BJP authorities. Supporters of the get together, nevertheless, have shared a video to painting that Haridwar has not witnessed mass gatherings and a false notion is being constructed in opposition to the Hindu pageant.

Social media in cost of BJP Mahila Morcha Priti Gandhi tweeted the video shot from a flyover that exhibits empty ghats. The flyover additionally doesn’t have loads of autos. “Entire propaganda about the #KumbhMela being a #SuperSpreader of #COVID19 is falling flat on its face,” she wrote.

BJP supporter Rishi Bagree additionally shared the video.

It is widespread on Facebook.

Alt News has obtained a number of verification requests for the video on its official cell software and WhatsApp helpline quantity.

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Fact-check

Upon watching the video frame-by-frame, hoardings of two inns – Hotel Ganga View and Hotel Ganges Park – are seen.

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We have in contrast Hotel Ganga View seen in the video with a photograph of the resort on Google Maps.

Both the inns are close to Haridwar’s Govind Ghat.

We contacted Hotel Ganges Park and spoke with Pradeep Chauhan. “This video has been recorded from the flyover in front of our hotel. This is Shri Govind Ghat. The video does not show any crowds maybe because it was recorded in the afternoon. The holy dip is taken in the morning and most people go to Har Ki Pauri. Only a few people come to Govind Ghat in the morning for the holy dip and aarti and return in the evening again for aarti. The ghats do not see a lot of people in the afternoon,” he stated.

Google Maps present a flyover in entrance of Hotel Ganges Park.

We additionally spoke to a Haridwar resident who reiterated that the video exhibits Govind Ghat. “It would be wrong to suggest there is no crowd in Haridwar. While fewer people have gathered this year compared to previous years, there are still large crowds. The flyover was shut down for safety reasons. Parking arrangements have been made for large vehicles before the flyover starts. People reach Har Ki Pauri on foot or via e-rickshaws after parking their cars. I think the video must have been shot in the afternoon. The time for the holy dip is four in the morning and the crowd starts dispersing by the afternoon. People gather again in the evening for aarti. Loudspeakers announce the time for taking a dip in the water in different akharas and common people are not allowed to stay in a ghat for more than 15-20 minutes,” he stated.

A neighborhood journalist from Haridwar knowledgeable that the video could have been shot when most pilgrims have been at Har Ki Pauri for the night aarti that begins at 6 pm. The journalist additionally stated that Govind Ghat doesn’t witness crowds as massive as Har Ki Pauri. “Mostly locals visit Govind Ghat while the tourists visit Har Ki Pauri. And this time due to COVID-19 the crowd is comparatively less,” the journalist added. We have been additionally knowledgeable that the flyover from the place the video was taken is empty as a result of it’s a zero zone the place solely officers and media individuals are allowed. Common residents should not allowed to journey between 5 am to six pm because the roads are solely reserved for 13 akharas.

The distance between Govind Ghat and Har Ki Pauri is about 6-7 km.

It is noteworthy that the viral video started circulating on April 15. The first holy dip (Shahi Snan) was held on March 11 on the event of Shivaratri. The second and third happened on April 12 and April 14 respectively. It is feasible that the video was shot on April 14.

Kumbh Mela – Ground actuality

Shahi Snan was noticed on April 14 on the event of Baisakhi. Doordarshan telecasted a 7-hour-long broadcast from Haridwar the place devotees and sadhus will be seen gathered at Har Ki Pauri.

Kumbh police had tweeted footage of Shahi Snan on April 14 the place a lot of individuals will be noticed.

Swami Avdeshanad had additionally shared footage that present a sea of devotees.

A video shot when Govind Ghat didn’t witness massive gatherings was shared to falsely recommend that Hardiwar is just not crowded for Kumbh Mela throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. There are sufficient floor experiences to debunk the viral declare. Furthermore, the video was shot 6-7 km away from Har Ki Pauri, which is the principle pilgrim attraction.

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