Is Kanwariyas spreading hooliganism in the name of religion?

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This is the holy month of Saawan, a period of time when the devotees of lord Shiva, better known as Kanwariyas hit the roads barefoot to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar in Uttarakhand to seeks blessings of Lord Shiva. The Kanwar Yatra has gained popularity so much in the past that increasing traffic of the devotees have created chaos in the Delhi-NCR region. The yatra consists of thousands of devotees from neighbouring States of Delhi like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh. According to news report, in 2003, 75.5 million pilgrims reached Haridwar and keeping this figure in mind the Government has done little to ensure safety and security of the people.

Three pilgrims killed in mishap till now

Traffic on Delhi-Haridwar national highway has been badly hit due to rise in the number of devotees this year. They have also set up their rest stations at various places in the national capital which is severely effecting the commuters.

Three pilgrims have been killed and 16 others injured till now when the vehicle they were traveling in overturned and fell into a ditch on the Delhi-Haridwar National Highway on Tuesday. The Kanwariyas (devotees of Lord Shiva) from Delhi were on their way to Haridwar when the mishap took place near Bilaspur bypass in the district. In order to avoid such accidents, special arrangements need to be made by the Government for example diversion of traffic.

Kanwar Yatra, a big disturbance to Ghaziabad residents

The annual pilgrimage is proving to be a big nuisance for Ghaziabad residents as their sojourn near residential area and playing music on high volume throughout the night is effecting the residents. Though they have pandals set up at various locations to feed them and take care of Kanwariyas but yet they have been caught spreading hooliganism in several parts of Delhi-NCR region. Iron rods in their hand to clear traffic is proving to be more dangerous for commuters.

Kanwariyas creating sanitation problem in Delhi with littering of plastic plates

"Literally for the last three days we have been facing serious problem with no way of getting out. No auto rickshaws, nothing is being permitted to commute. How can all major arterial highways from Ghaziabad towards Delhi be simply blocked? These people have some political interference that is helping them engage in all forms of hooliganism, vandalism, nuisance all night. They drink and have bhaang 24x7, harass ladies, thrash commuters, break glass of vehicles but the police does nothing. They even keep music on high volume throughout the night," says Shilpa Jain, a resident of Ghaziabad.

Government yet to ensure their is no chaos

The month of Saawan which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and most of the devotees set aside for religious pilgrimage. During the annual monsoon season thousands of saffron-clad pilgrim carry holy water from Ganges in Haridwar to offer at the local temple as a gesture of thanks giving.

But their is no restriction of people joining the group and getting support of RSS(Rashtryia Swayam Sewak Sangh) and VHP(Vishwa Hindu Parishad), the Kawariyas never bother to carry their religious pilgrimage without disturbing peace. Also the pilgrimage group have created a sanitation problem in Delhi with littering of plastic plates and bottles almost everywhere.

"Every single major road, side alleys and shortcuts towards Indirapuram, Noida, Vaishali and Delhi have been barricaded by the police and auto-rickshaw pullers are being beaten up if they ferry passengers. Like what is going on? Openly the police is engaging in anti-national activities and supporting crooks. What if people have to visit a hospital? What if students are going to appear for an exam? What if people have to commute to work?
What if someone has to catch a flight or a train?" asks Reetu Sharma, a resident of Maharani Bagh, New Delhi who is everyday facing problem of commuting to work.

The yatra use to be a small affair consisting of few devotees and saints but with increase in the number of devotees every year, the Government should ensure that the yatra do not effect the flow of traffic and the residents.

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