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Kumbh: Bindra, Dutt in war of words

By Rediff Sports
April 18, 2021 12:39 IST
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IMAGE: Lakhs of devotees took a dip in the Ganga, ignoring the need to wear masks and maintain social distancing despite the terrifying surge of COVID-19 cases across the country . Photograph: Reuters

Champion shooter Abhinav Bindra -- the only Indian ever to win a solo gold medal -- and Yogeshwar Dutt -- the Olympic medal-winning wrestler -- were engaged in a war of words over the Kumbh Mela amidst the deadly second wave of COVID-19 cases in India.

'No one in the Kumbh Mela is reaching there illegally, people are following all protocols, no one is spitting at the security and medical staff, no one is running away after hiding from the administration. Stop defaming the peaceful devotees at Kumbh. #ThankuTirathJi,' tweeted Dutt.

The ongoing Kumbh Mela has been at the centre of controversy amid fears that it could be a super spreader event in these times of the pandemic.

India registered a record single-day rise of 261,500 coronavirus infections on Saturday, which took the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,47,88,109.

In reply, Bindra criticised the decision to hold the Kumbh Mela amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases.

'Should the Kumbh Mela even be held while an infectious pandemic lays waste to India?' Bindra asked. 'A virus does not discriminate between religions.'

'Athletes are known to keep their eye on the ball,their focus unwavering and to not get distracted by what is most important at this time -- saving lives, finding cures THAT can work and showing compassion and empathy for those who are losing loved ones,' the Beijing Olympics gold medallist tweeted in response to Dutt.

'You are failing the entire sports community with this,' Bindra told Dutt.

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