- Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, 82, tests positive for coronavirus
- He was among those on stage during the Ayodhya ceremony on August 5
- Earlier, a priest and 14 cops at Ram Janambhoomi complex tested positive
The head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust or the Ram Temple trust in Ayodhya, who shared stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other VIPs during the groundbreaking ceremony for a Ram Temple last week, has tested positive for coronavirus.
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, 82, was among the five people on the stage at the grand ceremony at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh on August 5.
The others on the stage were Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Governor Anandiben Patel and Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP's ideological mentor.
Nritya Gopal Das is currently in Mathura. "We were informed that Maharaj-ji has some fever, so we sent a team of doctors and they investigated and gave medicines . The fever is normal. He has mild breathlessness and we checked his oxygen level. It is saturated. There is nothing serious. We checked for coronavirus, did antigen test and there is positivity," Sarvagya Ram Mishra, District Magistrate of Mathura, told reporters.
He added that the process to identify those who had come in contact with Das in the recent past has started.
"The Chief Minister has directed that Maharaj-ji be shifted to the Medanta Hospital and we are getting that done as soon as possible. Maharaj-ji is stable," he said.
Yogi Adityanath has spoken to the District Magistrate as well as Dr Naresh Trehan, the chairman and managing director of the Medanta Hospital, and requested for immediate medical attention to Nritya Gopal Das, officials said.
Nritya Gopal Das was at the Sri Krishna Janmasthan in Mathura till 1.30 AM on Thursday. He had performed the "abhishek" of the deity at the Bhagwat Bhavan from 11 PM to 1 AM, Gopeshwar Nath Chaturvedi, a member of the Sri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI, adding that till then, he had not complained about his health.
Nritya Gopal Das has also been heading the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas since 2003. It is an Ayodhya-based trust run by members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for the construction of the Ram Temple.
PM Modi laid the first brick for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya at the mega ceremony last Wednesday. He returned to the holy city after 29 years to participate in the "Bhoomi Pujan" or the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple, which meets a core promise of the ruling BJP.
Days before the ceremony, a priest, Pradeep Das, and 14 policemen on duty in the Ram Janambhoomi complex had also tested positive for coronavirus.
(With inputs from PTI)