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Move to lift ban on Kanwar yatra even as a third covid wave is looming
The UP Government has decided to allow the Kanwar yatra and has asked Uttarakhand to lift the ban on Kanwariyas visiting Haridwar. Like last year, Uttarakhand had last week cancelled the Kanwar yatra this year too due to covid. The yatra begins in late July and runs into early August. It lasts a fortnight in the month of Shrawan of Hindu almanac. In 2019, over 3 crore of pilgrims visited Haridwar to collect Ganga water to be offered to Lord Shiva idols in their native places.

DEHRA DUN, July 9: The Uttarakhand Government has said it will take a decision on allowing the annual Kanwar yatra after consulting with the neighbouring States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi in the coming days after reviewing the covid situation. It had cancelled the yatra last week but pressure is mounting on the State Government from various political and business quarters to open the State to Kanwariyas from other States in spite of a looming covid third wave. Last year the yatra was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Uttarakhand Government may continue the ban or allow it with restrictions like placing a limit on the number of pilgrims by imposing Section 144 around Haridwar or by other means.

"Kanwar Yatra is not a one-State affair. We will discuss the issue with other States, including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh. A decision will be taken after the meet," Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

Meanwhile, the UP Government is reported to have decided to allow the yatra and ask Uttarakhand to lift the ban on Kanwariyas from other States visiting Haridwar. Uttarakhand had last week decided not to allow the yatra.

The Ganga ghat in Haridwar in Uttarakhand is revered as the holiest by the Kanwariyas where pilgrims from all across northern India come to collect Ganga water to be offered to Lord Shiva idols back in their respective native places.

Usually the yatra begins in late July and runs into early August. It lasts a fortnight in the month of Shrawan in Hindu almanac. Kanwariyas visit Gaumukh, Gangotri, Varanasi and other places also. In 2019, over 3 crore of pilgrims thronged Haridwar.

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