Covid-19: Delhi cancels Kanwar Yatra; DDMA issues notification
There will be no Kanwar Yatra in Delhi this year too, as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Sunday issued a notification cancelling the annual pilgrimage over fears of it contributing to a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The upcoming Kanwar Yatra will commence from 25.07.2021 and in spite of being banned/suspended by the Uttarakhand government, there is an apprehension of gatherings/congregations/processions during Kanwar Yatra-2021. Therefore, in view of persisting Covid-19 situation, it is decided that Kanwar Yatra-2021 should not be permitted in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi," DDMA's notification stated.
It further empowered all district magistrates in Delhi, as well as their respective district deputy commissioners of police to ensure strict compliance of the order, and to further adequately sensitise the field functionaries about these instructions for strict compliance, in letter and spirit.
The DDMA's decision comes a day after the Uttar Pradesh government, too, cancelled the yatra, despite permitting it earlier. The UP government's order came after the Supreme Court, on Friday, instructed it to reconsider its decision to allow the pilgrimage despite concerns over Covid-19, giving it time till Monday to do so. The top court further warned it would cancel the Kanwar Yatra if Uttar Pradesh does not.
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On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government announced it will not allow the movement of Kanwariyas this year. Rajasthan has also called off the pilgrimage, which is also unlikely to take place in Bihar and Jharkhand.
The Kanwar Yatra, which was cancelled last year as well, sees thousands of Lord Shiva devotees, most of whom travel on foot and, more recently on trucks, to Haridwar in Uttarakhand to collect holy water from the Ganges river. The pilgrimage mostly begins in late July and goes on till the first week of August.