Two-weeks quarantine for Kanwariyas entering Haridwar despite ban on yatra in Uttarakhand


New Delhi: After cancelling Kanwar Yatra this year amid threat of possible third COVID-19 wave, Uttarakhand on Thursday (July 16) decided to quarantine the Kanwariyas entering Haridwar for 14 days despite the suspension. 

Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar in a meeting with senior police officials directed them to identify places in and around Haridwar where such Kanwariyas can be kept under quarantine, PTI reported. 

Issuing further instructions on how to deal with Kanwariyas entering the state despite ban on Yatra this year, Kumar asked officers to form Kanwar enforcement teams in Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri and Pauri districts which will patrol the streets and enforce law and order during the period of the banned Kanwar mela.

If a Kanwariya is seen on the road, they should be sent back by a bus or some other means of transport, the director general of police (DGP) said. Kanwariyas coming by trains to Haridwar will be forced to deboard at stations before Haridwar and sent back in buses, he added.

The police officials will also prepare SOPs in consultation with district magistrates in view of the suspension of Yatra. IG (law and order) has been asked to hold a meeting in Haridwar with DIG-level officials of neighbouring states to decide how Ganga water can be sent in tankers to other states.

“Meetings should be held with Kanwar associations and committees to apprise them about the suspension of the yatra and a record of such meetings kept at police stations concerned so that action can be taken against violators under the epidemic act,” Kumar said. 

The DGP asserted that shopkeepers in districts should be dissuaded from selling items related to Kanwar Yatra. While people coming to Haridwar for immersing ashes will not be stopped, the DGP said. 

During Hindu calendar month of ‘Saavan’ every year, the Shiva devotees, also known as Kanwariyas, fetch the holy waters of Ganga to offer at the Shiva temples. These pilgrims visit Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch the waters of Ganga. This water is then offered to Lord Shiva in temples. 

This is for the second consecutive year that the yatra was scrapped in Uttarakhand due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Meanwhile, Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allow the yatra from July 25 and has sought responses from the state and the Centre.

(With agency inputs)

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