The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Central government and Uttar Pradesh government to allow Kanwar Yatra amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The official report stated that both the government has scheduled the hearing of the matter for July 16.
The development comes amid the UP government’s decision to go ahead with the Kanwar Yatra, even when Uttarakhand has scrapped the annual pilgrimage this year. Senior officials of the UP administration indicated that they could make a negative Covid-19 test report mandatory.
The chief home secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said, “It’s status quo in UP. We are talking to Kanwar sanghas and everything will be done within the Covid-19 protocol. Even if devotees come from other states to UP, they will have to follow those protocols,”
Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage wherein Lord Shiva devotees travel either on foot or by bicycle to fetch the holy water of the Ganga from Uttarakhand’s Haridwar to their village shrines. This year the yatra is scheduled to start from July 25 onwards.
However, the state government of Uttarakhand has cancelled the Kanwar Yatra this year in view of the Covid-19 crisis, with chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami saying that people’s lives are their “first priority”. “We don’t want to make Haridwar the centre of Covid-19,” he added.
On July 6, Uttarakhand had decided to stop all Kanwar Yatra devotees from entering the state but took the decision to review the move two days later after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath called Dhami. Notably, both the states go into Assembly polls next year.