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Kanwar Yatra 2021: SC Asks UP Govt to Reconsider Decision

Kanwar Yatra 2021: SC Asks UP Govt to Reconsider Decision

The Union government on Friday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court wherein it stated that state governments must not permit the movement of Kanwariyas for bringing ‘Ganga Jal’ from Haridwar in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, considering religious sentiments, State governments must develop a system to make ‘Ganga Jal’ available via tankers at designated locations, it added.

The Union government informed the Supreme Court that tankers have to be made available at identified/designated locations so that nearby devotees can collect such ‘Ganga Jal’ and do ‘abhishek’ at their nearest Shiv temples.

The Centre further directed that State governments must ensure the distribution of ‘Ganga Jal’ among devotees and rituals performed by such devotees in the nearby Shiv Temples while mandatorily ensuring social distancing, wearing masks, and adhering to all steps required during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ amid Covid-19 and asked the Centre and the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to give their responses on the issue.

The matter has come up for hearing before the Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman.

In the Friday hearing, the top court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision to allow Kanwar Yatra.

Supreme Court says it is of prima facie view that “it concerns all of us and is at the heart of the fundamental right to life. The health of citizens of India and right to life is paramount, all other sentiments whether being religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right”.

The SC bench asked the Uttar Pradesh government to apprise the court about its decision on Monday, otherwise, it will pass an order.

On July 9, IMA’s Uttaranchal branch wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami requesting not to go ahead with Kanwar Yatra this year. Later the state government decided to cancel the yatra in view of the pandemic.

The Kanwar Yatra, in which Shiva devotees from northern states travel on foot or by other means to collect water from River Ganga at Haridwar to offer it at Shiva temples in their areas, is set to begin from July 25.

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