Abhinav Bindra condemns Yogeshwar Dutt over support of Kumbh Mela, says wrestler is 'failing' sports community
Dutt tweeted in support of the scores of people that attended celebrations of the religious event on 14 April, saying, '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.'
India's only individual Olympic gold-medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, on Saturday questioned the decision to continue with the Haridwar Kumbh Mela amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, saying "a virus does not discriminate between religions".
The Kumbh Mela is being seen as a potential superspreader with lakhs of devotees converging at Haridwar for a dip in the Ganga river. Official figures for the period between 10 to 14 April placed the number of infected at 1701.
"Should the Khumb (sic) mela even be held while an infectious pandemic lays waste to India? A virus does not discriminate between religions," wrote Bindra on his Twitter handle in response to a tweet by wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.
Dutt, who had won the bronze in the 60kg freestyle category at the 2012 London Olympics, had recently supported the conduct of the event in his social media post on Wednesday.
Athletes r knownto keep their eye on the ball,their focus unwavering &to not get distracted by wht is most important at this time-saving lives,finding curesTHAT can work &showing compassion &empathy4those who r loosing loved ones.U r failing the entire sports community with this
— Abhinav A. Bindra OLY (@Abhinav_Bindra) April 17, 2021
"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," he had tweeted.
Bindra's response to Dutt's tweet did not stop at the question. He went on to criticise the wrestler, who is now a member of the ruling BJP, for lending his support to the conduct of the massive gathering.
"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. You are failing the entire sports community with this," the celebrated shooter posted.
Overall, 2,34,692 fresh COVID-19 fresh cases were reported in the country on Tuesday, the biggest daily spike so far.
Amid the unprecedented surge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that attendance at the Hindu festival should be "symbolic".
It is the first time that 28-year-old Malik, who is a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has made the cut for the Olympics.
A 15-member Olympic-bound Indian team will leave for Zagreb, Croatia on 11 May in a chartered flight to participate in the European Championship in Osijek from 20 May to 6 June.
The shooting team will be travelling to Croatia for the European Championships from from 20 May to 6 June, where they will be staying back for training before directly leaving for Tokyo.