New Delhi: The Supreme Court has cautioned the Uttar Pradesh Government to reconsider its decision to allow the Kanwar Yatra; otherwise, it will have to issue an order. An affidavit submitted by the Central Government stated that it was not in favour of allowing the Kanwar Yatra. The Yatra was permitted by the UP Government but the Uttarakhand Government refused to allow the Yatra. The SC had issued notices to the Central Government, Uttar Pradesh Government, and Uttarakhand Government seeking their views.
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- In the affidavit, the Central Government has mentioned that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Kanwariyas should not be allowed to bring ‘Gangajal’ from Haridwar. Considering the religious sentiments, the State Government should provide ‘Gangajal’ to the devotees through tankers. Tankers should be provided at designated locations from where the devotees of respective areas can get ‘Gangajal’ and do ‘Abhishek’ at their nearest Shiva temple. The State Government should take the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the Covid-19 protocols during this period.
- Advocate C. S. Vaidyanathan while defending the Government of Uttar Pradesh, said that this has been permitted considering the religious significance of Kanwar Yatra. It has been decided to permit based on a fully vaccinated and negative RTPCR report.
- To this, the SC said, “It is of prima facie view that it concerns all of us and is at the heart of the fundamental right to life. The health of citizens of India and right to life is paramount, all other sentiments whether being religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right”. The Supreme Court has asked the UP Government to file an affidavit by 19th July about its decision.