Uttarakhand Government suspends Kanwar Yatra amidst rising covid concerns

Chris Steward
Chris Steward

Witnessing the rising cases of Covid-19 pandemic across the country, The Uttarakhand Police department on Thursday suspended Kanwar Yatra and has also requested people not to travel to the Uttarakhand district for the same. Due to the coronavirus illness (Covid-19) epidemic, the state government has already halted the religious pilgrimage, which was set to commence on July 25.

The decision came after the Supreme Court expressed its concern over the UP government’s decision to allow citizens to pursue Kanwar Yatra. 

“The citizens of India are completely perplexed. They don’t know what is going on. And all this amid the Prime Minister, when asked about a third wave of COVID striking the nation, saying ‘we cannot compromise even one bit, the apex court said.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh has declared it will allow the trip to continue, drawing the wrath of the Supreme Court, which has taken suo motu cognizance of the matter and given notice to the UP government and the Centre. The Supreme Court has requested their reply and has scheduled a hearing on Friday.

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The Uttarakhand police issued a notice and all entry and departure points in Haridwar districts have been sealed, and no permission to participate in the Kanwar Yatra has been granted.

It further said that visitors to Haridwar from other states must complete a 14-day institutional quarantine. “Vehicle of anyone attempting to enter the district will be seized and action taken under Disaster Management Act,” the police notice further said.

On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government decided to halt the Kanwar Yatra. In the month of Shravan, lakhs of worshippers embark on a difficult religious trip to Haridwar to return the Ganga’s water and present it to Lord Shiva.

CM Pushkar Singh Dhami said, “We discussed with higher officials and with officials from neighbouring states and decided that we will not hold Kanwar Yatra at this time. A variant has been found in Gadarpur so we don’t want to make Haridwar the centre of Covid.”

Subodh Uniyal, a minister from Uttarakhand, stated on Wednesday that faith in religion does not imply that we may mess with people’s lives. “The IMA (INdian Medical Association) has warned of a third wave. Even the prime minister had expressed concern over it. The decision to cancel Kanwar Yatra has been taken in larger public interest,” said Uniyal, who is also the state government’s official spokesman.

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