Uttarakhand on Thursday determined to review its decision to stop all Kanwar yatra devotees from coming into the state this year, prompting specialists to warning a few steep surge in Covid infections if security protocols are violated.
The decision on the yatra, which sees thousands and thousands of individuals journey via a number of states by foot to the holy city of Haridwar, got here a day after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath cleared the occasion and requested Uttarakhand to permit the procession.
On Tuesday, the state authorities had determined not to permit the yatra over fears of a 3rd Covid wave and rising circumstances of delta variant within the state. The final Kanwar yatra was held in 2019 and roughly 30 million pilgrims reached Haridwar, as per official information.
A senior official privy to the developments mentioned chief minister Pushkar Dhami met senior officers on Thursday to talk about Kanwar yatra.
“It was decided that state government will first hold talks with other states from where Kanwariyas come on how to conduct the yatra amid fears of the third wave, how the millions of pilgrims would be tested and whether there should be a cap on the numbers this time. The final call [on how to allow the yatra]will be taken after talks in a day or two,” mentioned the official quoted above.
Ashok Kumar, director-general of police (DGP) Uttarakhand, who was current within the meeting, mentioned that Kanwar yatra was mentioned within the meeting. “Various aspects of the yatra were discussed and pros and cons were weighed,” he mentioned.
This is the primary main administrative decision by Dhami, who took cost on July 4. His predecessor, Tirath Singh Rawat, resigned on July 2 amid controversy over his administration’s decision to permit the Mahakumbh in Haridwar and large-scale fraud in testing in the course of the holy occasion.
Both Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are dominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party and are scheduled to go to the polls early subsequent year.
On Tuesday, the state authorities had issued an order stating that Kanwar pilgrims from neighbouring states received’t be allowed to enter Haridwar.
Uttarakhand Police additionally held meeting with senior police officers of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab. Kumar had advised his counterparts to publicise the federal government order on the ban and ask pilgrims from their states not to come to Haridwar.
The state police had additionally determined to seal the borders of the state from July 22 to guarantee Kanwariyas don’t enter Haridwar from Uttar Pradesh or Himachal Pradesh.
But on Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh allowed the yatra from July 25. Adityanth additionally requested UP officers to coordinate to Uttarakhand administration and resolve any lingering issues.
The fortnight-long Kanwar yatra is an annual pilgrimage of Shiva devotees — generally known as Kanwariyas — to Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch the water of the Ganga and carry it again to native temples. Devotees come from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to Uttarakhand.
The yatra was cancelled final year due to Covid and is often held from July 23 to August 6.
Uttarakhand authorities obtained sharp criticism from specialists and the judiciary over its decision to permit full-scale organisation of the Mahakumbh, which noticed 9.1 million folks take part in violation of Covid norms and distancing tips. Roughly six million of those was in April on the top of the second wave and officers in lots of different north Indian states traced native an infection surges to Kumbh returnees. The administration is probing if 100,000 fast antigen assessments on the occasion had been faked.
On June 28, the Uttarakhand excessive court docket additionally lashed out on the state authorities for permitting the Char Dham yatra and stayed its cupboard decision on this regard.
Dr DD Choudhary, senior member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Uttarakhand mentioned permitting Kanwar Yatra at this juncture will likely be a catastrophe. “The Kanwar yatra has the potential to spread the third wave like wildfire. It just needs few infected Kanwars to spread the Delta plus variant, which has also been detected in Uttarakhand now,” the physician mentioned.
Rajesh Shivpuri, Garhwal-based political observer, mentioned permitting thousands and thousands of pilgrims when the nation is readying to battle the third wave might be harmful. “Every aspect should be considered before allowing Kanwar pilgrimage. It won’t be easy to manage Kanwariyas even if Kanwar yatra specific SoP is issued and restrictions are put in place,” he mentioned.
Suryakant Dhasmana, senior vp of Uttarakhand Congress, criticised the state authorities’s U-turn. “Everyone knows what happened in Mahakumbh, what mess they have left behind, and how they endangered the lives of millions of people through fake Covid tests. During Kanwar yatra, which is mostly unorganised, with people come from different states, how can they manage such huge numbers at a time when they should be readying for third wave?” he requested.
However, merchants in Haridwar welcomed the decision. “All religious, festive baths and pilgrimages are being held in UP, then why not in our Uttarakhand. Right now, the Covid wave has come down sharply and the state is reporting few daily cases. There is no rationale in keeping the ban on the yatra,” mentioned Mahanagar Vyapar Mandal Haridwar district president Sunil Sethi.
(With inputs from Sandeep Rawat from Haridwar)