New Delhi: The Supreme Court has taken suo moto cognizance of the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The order in this matter has also been sent to the Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana.
A bench headed by Justice R.F. Nariman and comprising Justice B.R. Gavai has issued a notice to the Centre, the Uttarakhand government, and the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, fixing the matter for hearing on Friday.
Taking cognizance of a news report stating the Uttar Pradesh government is pressing ahead with the annual ritual of ‘Kanwar Yatra’ that sees a heavy movement of pilgrims across the states in the northern belt, the bench said: “We were a little disturbed given today’s headline.”
The top court emphasized that Uttar Pradesh has chosen to continue with ‘Kanwar Yatra’ while Uttarakhand, with its hindsight of experience, has said that there will be no Yatra this time.
It also pointed at another news report, wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with the Chief Ministers of northeastern states mentioned that “it’s up to us to stop it (the third wave of the pandemic) and we cannot compromise even a bit”.
The two-week long annual pilgrimage for devotees of Lord Shiva, the Kanwar Yatra is due to begin on July 25 of this year.
As part of the pilgrimage, devotees travel to Haridwar in Uttarakhand and other parts of the country to fetch holy water from the Ganga river.
Lakhs of devotees, known as Kanwariyas, from northern states travel on foot to collect water from the Ganga at Haridwar and then offer the same at various Shiva temples.