In the backdrop of the coronavirus scare, the suspense over the annual Kanwar pilgrimage continues even as senior police officials from five states met in Dehradun on Tuesday to discuss how to stop the movement of pilgrims.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, however, asserted that no decision has been taken yet on the cancellation of the annual pilgrimage.
“I spoke to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over phone and discussed about Kanwar Yatra,” Dhami told News18. “No decision has been taken to cancel the yatra,” said the CM.
The chief minister’s statement came after state’s Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar appealed to the pilgrims not to visit Uttarakhand as the pilgrimage has not been permitted.
Kumar said, “If required, police stations from other states can collect (Ganga) water from Haridwar and distribute to the locals." He said this soon after holding a meeting with senior police officials from Haryana, Delhi, UP and Rajasthan.
On June 30, the Uttarakhand government under Tirath Singh Rawat had issued an order cancelling the pilgrimage in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, situation has now changed after Dhami took charge on Sunday. On Tuesday, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reportedly gave a go-ahead for the annual pilgrimage.
During the monsoon or the ‘Sawan’ month, lakhs of pilgrims throng to places such as Haridwar, Rishikesh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to collect the water of river Ganga — Ganga Jal — which is offered to Lord Shiva. The annual pilgrimage attracts people from the national capital region, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.