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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Ramdev, 150 followers return to Gangotri

Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, July 17, 2014
First Published: 18:20 IST(17/7/2014) | Last Updated: 19:23 IST(17/7/2014)

Baba Ramdev and 150 of his followers returned to Gangotri from Gaumukh where they had gone despite warnings, while Met department's prediction of heavy rainfall for the next 48 hours forced the authorities to seek a temporary halt on pilgrimage to this holy site.

Uttarkashi district magistrate C Ravishankar said, "About 150 children and other persons who had gone to Gaumukh are safe and they have come down to Gangotri after we told them in the morning to return."

Though Ravishankar said the call for return was "routine", it was learnt such directives are issued only if there is urgency.

At a time when major rivers in the state edged towards the danger level due to torrential rains and landslides forced a suspension of Char Dham pilgrimage, Ramdev had on Tuesday embarked on the trip to Gangotri along with 450 followers despite warning by the Met department. About 150 of them, including several children studying at his Patanjali Yog Peeth in Haridwar, had trekked to Gaumukh located 18km from Gangotri.

Ravishankar said the district administration has sought a suspension of pilgrimage to Gangotri for three days after the Met department warned of heavy rainfall for the next 48 hours. He said the government's decision was awaited.

But chief minister Harish Rawat asked officials to be on alert and regulate the pilgrimage to the holy shrines rather than stopping it, while ensuring none of their actions creates panic among the people.

Meanwhile, the pilgrimage to Himalayan shrine of Badrinath was also suspended on Thursday till Friday, a day after authorities stopped it to Kedarnath.

"Pilgrims already on way to Gangotri have been asked to take shelter in safer places while those on way to Yamunotri will also be called back or shifted to safe locations," Ravishankar said.


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