The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Sunday announced that Kanwar Yatra has been called off in the national Capital in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reported NDTV.
“The Kanwar Yatra has been banned in Uttarakhand, but despite this, there is a risk of the spread of the virus due to crowding or taking out processions, in view of which this decision has been taken,” an order issued by the disaster management body said.
During the Kanwar Yatra, an annual pilgrimage, devotees of the Hindu deity Shiva collect water from the Ganga river in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and offer it at temples in their respective states. These devotees, called Kanwariyas, cover hundreds of kilometres on foot.
Delhi’s decision came a day after Uttar Pradesh also cancelled the annual pilgrimage. On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government had allowed the yatra to begin from July 25 despite warnings about the imminent third wave of Covid-19. A day later, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision.
On Friday, the Supreme Court urged the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision to allow the pilgrimage in the present circumstances. Earlier on that day, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that states must not allow the movement of devotees undertaking the Kanwar Yatra.
Experts have issued repeated warnings about a surge in cases in India. Last week, the Indian Medical Association had said that “tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour” could wait and the people should follow Covid protocols for at least three more months. The statement came after citizens thronged tourist destinations, ignoring coronavirus-related guidelines such as maintaining physical distaning.
On Sunday, the medical body called the Kerala government’s decision to relax coronavirus restrictions in view of Eid-al-Adha, or Bakrid, “unwarranted and inappropriate”. The association said that it will move the Supreme Court if the Kerala government did not withdraw its order.
Meanwhile, India on Sunday recorded 41,157 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year to 3,11,06,065. The number was 8.08% higher than Saturday’s tally of 38,079 cases. The country’s toll rose by 518 to 4,13,609.