Uttarakhand government cancels Kanwar Yatra 2021, CM says culturally significant but saving lives paramount
Dehradun, July 13: The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday cancelled the Kanwar Yatra in view of a possible third wave of COVID-19, sources said.
It is for the second consecutive year that the yatra is not being held due to the pandemic.
The Indian Medical Association had also written to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami recently asking him to not allow the yatra to go ahead in the interest of the people of the state and the country.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had said that though Kanwar Yatra is part of Sanatan culture, saving lives in the time of the pandemic was paramount.
"Kanwar is part of the Sanatan culture but saving lives is paramount. Government's focus is to ensure that COVID does not spread," Dhami said addressing a meeting of all morchas (wings) of the state BJP here. It is still uncertain whether or not the Kanwar Yatra will be held this year with the third wave of the coronavirus knocking at the country's doors.
The fortnight-long yatra which begins with the onset of the month of Shravan by the Hindu calendar goes on till the first week of August and sees a large gathering of Kanwariyas in Haridwar from neighbouring states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi to collect the holy waters of the Ganga.
Even the Indian Medical Association's Uttarakhand chapter has written to the Chief Minister requesting him to learn from the "previous failure" and not allow Kanwar Yatra in the interest of the state and the whole country. People had to pay a heavy price for going off guard after the first wave which had led to a stronger and more fatal second wave, IMA Uttarakhand Secretary Amit Khanna said in a letter to Dhami.
The Haridwar Kumbh held in April had led to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Dhami, who met central leaders in Delhi including the Prime Minister to discuss a range of issues, has been saying repeatedly that saving human lives is important.