Days after the UNESCO declared the Kumbh a world heritage, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly today passed a bill to set up Prayagraj Mela Authority for the Kumbh Mela scheduled to be held in Allahabad in January 2019. The UP Prayagraj Mela Authority, Allahabad, Bill 2017, was passed amid a walkout by the members of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress party.
Pressing for the bill, for setting up an authority headed by Allahabad commissioner for organising the Kumbh Mela, be sent to the select committee for scrutiny, Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary said people’s representatives and members of the Akhara Parishads have not been given any representation in the proposed authority.
Chaudhary charged that the bill was against the established tenets of sanatan dharma and Hindu dharma as it had many provisions which were in contravention to them. “We, who are sitting on this side (Opposition), are the real Hindus,” Chaudhary remarked.
Opposing the bill, the leader of the BSP in the House, Lalji Verma, questioned the renaming of “ardh kumbha” and Kumbha respectively as Kumbha and Maha Kumbha and stressed that it was not the duty of the government to do so and it should be left to the ‘dharmacharyas’ to take a decision in this matter.
As Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna rose to stress that there was an attempt to change established tradition related to Kumbha and neither the beliefs nor the process of taking the holy dip will be changed, Samajwadi Party and Congress members raised slogans “dharam virodhi sarkar nahi chalegi” and “Hindu virodhi sarkar nahi chalegi” and barged into the Well of the House and later staged a walkout.
The Chair then adjounred the House sine die.
The UNESCO recently recognised the Kumbh Mela as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” and held it as the world’s largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims.
The Kumbh Mela is believed to be the largest religious gathering on earth and is held every 12 years on the banks of the ‘Sangam’ – the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati – in Allahabad.
The Mela alternates between Nasik, Allahabad, Ujjain and Haridwar every three years. The one celebrated at the Sangam is the largest and holiest of them.