Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Monday the state would go ahead with Kanwar Yatra amid the Covid pandemic with all necessary norms and restrictions in place.
“Every life is important. It’s an epidemic, it doesn’t see caste and religion. We need to keep all vigil. We are not going to impose a ban on Kanwar Yatra but will ensure full implementation of covid protocol," Adityanath said in an interview to News18.
The Chief Minister said the government was carrying out necessary measures and talks were on with stakeholders. “Nothing or no one will be banned, but we want people to follow Covid norms," said Adityanath.
He said other religious gatherings had been conducted amid Covid-19 as well, by maintaining proper protocol.
“We will initiate dialogue with Kanwar sanghs and ensure things are carried out in a controlled manner. The Yatra is not only between UP and Uttarakhand, it happens in other parts, as well," he said.
The fortnight-long yatra that begins with the onset of the month of Shravan around July 25 and goes on till the first week of August sees crores of Kanwariyas from states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh gathering in Haridwar to collect the holy waters of the Ganga. The yatra had been cancelled last year too due to the first wave of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association’s Uttarakhand chapter has written to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami requesting him to cancel the Kanwar Yatra this year for public safety in view of a possible third wave of COVID-19.
The Uttarakhand government likely to take final call on Kanwar Yatra on Tuesday. Dhami will participate in a meeting which will also be attended by the state Chief Secretary and DGP. Dhami, who met central ministers including PM Modi in Delhi over the past few days, has already said that though the Kanwar Yatra is connected with the religious sentiments of people saving lives is the state government’s topmost priority.