Delhi cancels Kanwar Yatra a day after Uttar Pradesh canceled annual pilgrimage


The Delhi Disaster Management Authority announced on Sunday that Kanwar Yatra was canceled in the nation’s capital due to the coronavirus pandemic, NDTV reported.

“The Kanwar Yatra has been banned in Uttarakhand, but despite this, there is a risk of the virus spreading due to the influx or the exit of the processions, in view of which this decision was taken”, an order issued by disaster management said the body.

During the Kanwar Yatra, an annual pilgrimage, devotees of the Hindu deity Shiva collect water from the Ganga River in Haridwar in Uttarakhand and offer it to temples in their respective states. These devotees, called Kanwariyas, walk hundreds of kilometers.

Delhi’s decision came a day after Uttar Pradesh also canceled the annual pilgrimage. On Tuesday, the government of Uttar Pradesh had authorized the start of the yatra from July 25 despite warnings of the impending third wave of Covid-19. A day later, the Supreme Court heard suo motu of the decision of the government of Uttar Pradesh.

The Supreme Court on Friday urged the government of Uttar Pradesh to reconsider its decision to allow the pilgrimage under the current circumstances. Earlier today, the Center told the Supreme Court that states should not allow the movement of worshipers undertaking the Kanwar Yatra.

The government of Uttarakhand canceled the Kanwar Yatra on July 13. Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha also canceled this year’s pilgrimage due to the pandemic, India Today reported.

Experts have issued repeated warnings of an increase in cases in India. Last week, the Indian Medical Association said “tourist windfall, pilgrimage trips, religious fervor” could wait and people would have to follow Covid protocols for at least three more months. The statement came after citizens invaded tourist destinations, ignoring coronavirus-related guidelines such as maintaining physical distance.

On Sunday, medical professionals called the Kerala government’s decision to ease restrictions on coronaviruses in preparation for Eid-al-Adha, or Bakrid, “unwarranted and inappropriate.” The association said it would move the Supreme Court if the Kerala government did not withdraw its order.

Meanwhile, India on Sunday recorded 41,157 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the number of infections since the start of the pandemic in January of last year to 3,11,006,065. The number was 8.08% more higher than Saturday’s count of 38,079 cases. The country’s balance sheet rose from 518 to 4,13,609.

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