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After Heavy Pushback, UP Govt Approaches Kanwar Unions for Cancellation of Pilgrimage This Year

The Yogi Adityanath government in UP has approached the Kanwar sanghs (unions) for cancellation of pilgrimage.

The Yogi Adityanath government in UP has approached the Kanwar sanghs (unions) for cancellation of pilgrimage.

The Uttarakhand government cancelled the Kanwar Yatra on Wednesday after a high-level meeting between Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and top officials.

After the Supreme Court asked Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision to allow Kanwar yatra amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, the UP government approached the Kanwar sanghs (unions) for the cancellation of the popular pilgrimage.

Sources in the UP government told News18 that the announcement of suspension of the pilgrimage will be made via the Kanwar sanghs.

A dialogue is currently in process with the Kanwar sanghs to convince them to call off the yatra due to the pandemic. In 2020, too, it were these unions who had announced the cancellation of pilgrimage.

The SC said health and the right to life is paramount, and asked the Yogi government to reconsider its decision to allow Kanwar yatra. “We all are citizens of India. Article 21 - the Right to Life - applies to all. UP cannot go ahead with physical yatra. 100 percent," said Justice RF Nariman.

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“It is of prima facie view that it concerns all of us and is at the heart of the fundamental right to life. The health of citizens of India and right to life is paramount, all other sentiments whether being religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right,” Justices Nariman and BR Gavai said.

The Uttarakhand government took the decision to suspend the yatra on Wednesday after a high-level meeting between Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and top officials of the state government. The Indian Medical Association had on Tuesday requested CM Pushkar Singh Dhami to cancel the Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid-19.

“We are not interested in turning Haridwar into a Covid-19 hotspot. We do not want to put people’s lives at risk. Keeping this in mind we have decided to cancel the Kanwar Yatra. We have to save lives. God wouldn’t want lives to be lost," said Dhami after the meeting.

The pilgrimage is undertaken each year by thousands of devotees of Hindu deity Shiva. These devotees, called Kanwariyas, walk hundreds of kilometres to collect water, usually from the river Ganga, and offer it in Shiva temples in their respective hometowns.

(With inputs from Pranshu Mishra)

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first published:July 16, 2021, 15:40 IST