Kanwar Yatra in UP: Supreme Court issues notice to Yogi govt


The Supreme Court Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of a report in The Indian Express of the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ and issued notice to the state government. A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman posted the matter for hearing on Friday. We read something disturbing in The Indian Express today that the state of UP has chosen to continue with the Kanwar yatra, while the state of Uttarakhand with its hindsight of experience, has said that there will be no Yatra,” Justice Nariman told the Solicitor General.

While the Yogi Adityanath government has allowed the yatra from July 25 despite concerns raised in various quarters over the risk posed by such events in triggering a possible third wave of COVID-19, the neighbouring Uttarakhand has suspended the kanwar yatra. UP Additional Director General (ADG) Law and Order, Prashant Kumar, said that this year, the yatra will be held from July 25 to August 6. Officials said that in 2019, the last time the yatra was organised, nearly 3.5 crore devotees (kanwariyas) had visited Haridwar while over 2-3 crore people had visited pilgrimage spots in Western UP.

As part of the yatra, kanwariyas trek up to or drive to ghats of the Ganga, and fill pitchers with water from the river before making the journey back to their towns and villages. While much of the traffic is usually headed to Haridwar, pilgrims also go to the UP districts of Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Amroha, Shamli, Saharanpur, Agra, Aligarh, Bareilly, Kheri, Barabanki, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Bhadohi, Mau, Sitapur, Mirzapur and Lucknow.

On Monday Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said 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.

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