Kanwar organisers cancel Yatra after Uttar Pradesh government’s appeal
"Kanwar Yatra has been cancelled by Kanwar sanghs on the appeal of the Uttar Pradesh government," Additional Chief Secretary of Information Navneet Sehgal told.
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh will not hold Kanwar Yatra this year too, organisers of the religious event have said in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and experts’ warning about a third wave in the coming months.
The move came after talks with state government representatives, sources said.
"Kanwar Yatra has been cancelled by Kanwar sanghs on the appeal of the Uttar Pradesh government," Additional Chief Secretary of Information Navneet Sehgal told PTI. The yatra was scheduled to start on July 25.
The Supreme Court had said it was giving the state "one more opportunity to reconsider" or else, it would pass orders.
While asking the UP government to reconsider allowing even a symbolic physical yatra this year, the apex court on Friday had underlined that “the health of the citizenry of India and their right to ‘life’ are paramount” and that “all other sentiments, albeit religious, are subservient to this most basic fundamental right”.
It, however, suggested that arrangements should be made for water from the Ganges to be available through tankers at designated places.
Undertaken annually by devotees of Lord Shiva to bring water from sacred rivers — mainly the Ganga in Haridwar — to offer it to the deity in the month of Shravan, the yatra was cancelled last year by both UP and Uttarakhand because of the pandemic.
This year, too, Uttarakhand cancelled it after drawing flak over holding Kumbh early this year. However, UP wanted to organise it in accordance with Covid protocols. The Supreme Court then took suo motu cognizance of the issue and served a notice to the UP government.
The looming threat of a Covid third wave months after a deadly second wave that killed over 2.5 lakh people, however, have led the organisers to reconsider their decision to hold the religious event. Crowding and lack of social distancing could worsen the pandemic, experts have said.
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