Banning use of loud speakers by Kanwariyas ‘not practical’, govt to adopt ‘midway approach’

Retracting from its earlier decision to ban the use of loud speakers during Kanwar Yatra, the state government plans to adopt ’midway approach’ and allow use of loud speakers in the religious procession by Kanwariyas

dehradun Updated: Jul 17, 2018 21:57 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times, Haridwar
Uttarakhand News
District and mela administration is well equipped to smoothly conduct the fair and a midway approach is required, said Madan Kaushik, the spokesperson for Uttarakhand government.(HT File)

Retracting from its earlier decision to ban the use of loud speakers during Kanwar Yatra, the state government plans to adopt “midway approach” and allow use of loud speakers in the religious procession by Kanwariyas.

Uttarakhand government spokesperson Madan Kaushik told HT: “It’s (banning the use of loud speakers by Kanwariyas) not practical as just less than two weeks are left for the commencement of Kanwar fair.”

“Kanwariyas come from across the states to Uttarakhand to fetch holy Ganga jal (water) and they had already started preparations in this regard,” he added, indicating that the government would take soft view towards the use of loud speakers by Kanwariyas.

“District and mela administration is well equipped to smoothly conduct the fair and a midway approach is required. A controlled measure approach is the need of the hour. Kanwariyas are devotees and our sole objective is to ensure they arrive and leave for their respective home destinations peacefully and safely,” he said.

Kanwar Mela force in-charge Mamta Vohra said that the mela police have been effectively managing Kanwariyas and “controlled measures” will be taken regarding the use of loud speakers.

The Uttarkahand government’s move seems to be influenced by neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, where the use of loud speakers by Kanwariyas is allowed ever since Yogi Adityanath became the chief minister. There was also support from Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders in Uttarakhand for the use of loud speakers during Kanwar Yatra. BJP legislator from Haridwar Rural, Swami Yatishwaranand too had vocally supported Kanwariyas on the issue recently and opposed the district administration’s crackdown against the use of music systems.

Last year, Uttarakhand government had prohibited the use of loud speakers during Kanwar Yatra. The state police officials were sent to UP, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana to apprise respective governments and Kanwariyas about the caveat.

Even a few days ago, Garhwal commissioner Shailesh Bagoli during a review meeting in Haridwar had directed Kanwar Mela administration to keep a check on kanwariyas ferrying loud speakers on the pilgrimage.

While the district administration and Kanwar police were devising a strategy to rein in the use of loud speakers during Kanwar Yatra, the government’s recent decision has sent them on the back foot.

The Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kanwariyas, to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch holy waters of the Ganga. Millions of participants gather sacred water from the Ganga and carry it across hundreds of miles to dispense as offerings in their local Shive temples.

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 21:56 IST