Despite state governments cancelling the kanwar yatra this year due to Covid-19, some devotees are adamant about taking forward their plans. More than 400 devotees who planned to go on a kanwar yatra were identified by authorities at Haridwar railway station and sent back to their native places. Some of the kanwariyas even disguised as regular passengers.
Locals and people coming for rites are allowed outside the station premises, but kanwariyas are prohibited from venturing out. The Government Railway Police (GRP) is engaged in the continuous screening of passengers at stations. Manoj Katyal, the superintendent of police of GRP, said that security personnel have been deployed on the district borders to prevent the kanwariyas from entering Haridwar. The GRP is keeping an eye on railway stations like Roorkee, Rishikesh, Jwalapur and Motichur. Kanwariyas disguised as passengers are being sent back by shuttle buses, the SP said.
Although the kanwar yatra is prohibited this year keeping in mind the pandemic, gangajal (holy water from the river Ganges) is being sent to other states on behalf of the district administration of Haridwar. So far, four tankers of Gangajal have been sent to Delhi and Haryana.
C Ravi Shankar, district magistrate of Haridwar, said that the Ganga water is being sent to help people fulfill their religious obligations. Some social and religious organisations are also helping in the efforts.