Uttar Pradesh: The Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state administration said on Saturday. The announcement came a day after the Supreme Court directed the state government to rethink its decision to approve the pilgrimage
The yatra was also cancelled in the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand on Tuesday due to worries that it might contribute to a probable third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of Justice RF Nariman and Justice BR Gavai, effectively handed the Uttar Pradesh government an ‘ultimatum’ to call off the yatra on Friday, stating that it ‘cannot go ahead with the Kanwar Yatra, 100 percent.’
The court then gave Uttar Pradesh till July 19 to rethink its decision ‘in the interest of the people of India’ or face being compelled to cancel the pilgrimage by the court.
Earlier, the Union government had filed a petition with the Supreme Court, arguing that state governments should not allow Kanwariyas to trek on foot to Haridwar to fetch water from the sacred Ganga river. Instead, the Centre recommended that governments devise a mechanism for making sacred water available at designated locations while taking into account the religious emotions of believers.