Caste no bar at Maha Kumbh

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 10, 2013 05:22 hrs

Around 100 manual scavengers from Rajasthan are here to take a dip at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati during the ongoing Maha Kumbh, said CNN IBN.

According to the report, manual scavenging still employes 50,000 Dalits - mostly women. All these people have been for centuries considered untouchables by upper caste people.

"In Hindu rituals, the Sangam is a place where everyone wants to come and take a dip. Therefore it was very important that untouchables also come here. I think it will help them get acceptance in society," Bideshwar Pathak, who organised the trip for these people, told the news channel.

"On my way here, I was a bit hesitant, a bit embarrassed. I wondered if I would be allowed to bathe here. But when I came here, I saw that all the people were in it together. They were all one. They were all bathing, praying together. I liked it a lot," Usha Chomar, 35, said.

Around three crore pilgrims are expected to take a dip at the confluence the three rivers here on Sunday on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya, considered the holiest day of the ongoing 55-day Maha Kumbh festival.

The "naga sadhus" have their second "shahi snan" after Makar Sankranti on Mauni Amavasya, which sees the largest turnout of devotees every time.

Reports quoted divisional commissioner of Allahabad Devesh Chaturvedi, who is the nodal officer of the Maha Kumbh, as saying that around three crore devotees were expected to take a holy dip on Sunday.

Security has been tightened in the area to keep law and order in check.

Latest reports said Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who was scheduled to attend the Maha Kumbh on February 12, is likely to skip the event owing to security reasons.

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