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No Kanwar Yatra in UP, Unions Agree to Call it Off After Govt Appeal: Sources

Uttarakhand police is preparing to guard its borders in case Kanwariyas  try to enter the state despite the ban.

Uttarakhand police is preparing to guard its borders in case Kanwariyas try to enter the state despite the ban.

The Supreme Court had asked the state to inform it by July 19 whether it would reconsider its decision to hold a "symbolic" Kanwar Yatra, saying the right to life is paramount.

A day after the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government initiated talks with “kanwar sanghs" and urged them to take the right decision on the annual yatra following a nudge by the Supreme Court, the unions have decided to call it off this year too, sources told News18.

The Supreme Court had on Friday asked the state government to inform it by July 19 whether it would reconsider its decision to hold a “symbolic" Kanwar Yatra, saying the right to life is paramount.

It said the Uttar Pradesh government cannot be allowed to hold Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid. The top court’s direction came after the Uttar Pradesh government told the bench that it has decided after relevant discussions to hold a symbolic Kanwar Yatra with appropriate Covid restrictions.

On July 14, the top court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and sought responses from the state as well as the Centre “given the disparate political voices" on the matter. It had referred to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that not even a bit of compromise can be made on COVID-19 containment and said the citizens were perplexed about the happenings in view of the fact that the UP government has allowed the religious ‘yatra’ commencing from July 25. It had issued notices to the Centre and the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Uttarakhand government has suspended the annual pilgrimage for the safety of people in view of the looming threat of the third wave of Covid-19. It is preparing to also seal its borders to prevent kanwariyas from entering the state despite the ban.

The Rajasthan government has also banned the pilgrimage in the state, in newly issued Covid-19 guidelines on Friday. All other religious gatherings and events have also been banned.

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first published:July 17, 2021, 21:40 IST