Odisha government yesterday also announced a ban on the religious activities and congregations of ‘Kaudias’ and ‘Bol Bom’ devotees.
Amid threat of third wave of Covid-19, the Uttarakhand government has cancelled the Kanwar Yatra this year while Uttar Pradesh has decided to resume the annual ritual with Covid restrictions in place.
The Uttarakhand government decision was taken after a high-level meeting between Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and top officials of the state government. The Indian Medical Association yesterday had requested CM Pushkar Singh Dhami to cancel the Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid-19.
“We are not interested in turning Haridwar into a Covid-19 hotspot. We do not want to put people’s lives at risk. Keeping this in mind we have decided to cancel the Kanwar Yatra. We have to save lives. God wouldn’t want lives to be lost,” said Dhami after the meeting.
Meanwhile UP has decided to continue with the Yatra, which sees a heavy movement of devotees, with Covid protocols. The state government has announced that only Kanwar pilgrims will be allowed to attend the ritual. It has also requested the Kanwar associations to limit the number of pilgrims for the ritual.
The Uttar Pradesh government has taken cautionary measures to enforce Covid-19 protocols during the yatra. UP Additional Director General (ADG) Law and Order, Prashant Kumar, reportedly said that this year, the Kanwar yatra will be held from July 25 to August 6.
According to officials, last time in 2019, nearly 3.5 crore devotees had visited Haridwar during the Yatra while over 2-3 crore people had visited pilgrimage spots in Western UP.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government yesterday also announced a ban on the religious activities and congregations of ‘Kaudias’ and ‘Bol Bom’ devotees. According to an order issued by the Chief Secretary, the ‘Bol Bom’ devotees are not allowed to collect water from rivers, ponds, and other water bodies and walk on any public road to offer it to the deity at any Shiva temple during the Odia month of Shravan (July/August).