Delhi Cancels Kanwar Yatra, Day After UP Calls Off Religious Event

No celebrations, processions or gatherings related to the yatra, scheduled from July 25, will be allowed in the national capital, said an official order.

The Uttarakhand and UP government has already called off the Kanwar Yatra. (FILE)

Kanwar Yatra has been called off in Delhi in view of the pandemic, just a day after the Uttar Pradesh government banned the religious event. No celebrations, processions or gatherings related to the yatra, scheduled from July 25, will be allowed in the national capital, said an official order on Sunday.

"The Kanwar Yatra has been banned in Uttarakhand, but despite this, there is a risk of the spread of the virus due to crowding or taking out processions, in view of which this decision has been taken," the order by Delhi Disaster Management Authority said.

The Uttarakhand government has already called off the event amid fears expressed by experts of a possible third wave of the pandemic and the risk posed by such gatherings.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said all governments and people alike must take required actions to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The yatra goes on till the first week of August wherein thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva, called kanwariyas, travel mostly on foot to collect water from the Ganges in Haridwar to offer at Shiva temples back home.

The decision to ban the annual religious event in Uttar Pradesh came after the Supreme Court said it cannot allow the state government "to hold 100 percent physical Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid".  It also said that sentiments, including religious, are subservient to the Right to Life.

The Centre had told the top court that the state governments must not permit any kind of Kanwar yatra because of the pandemic and arrangements should be made for water from the Ganges to be available through tankers at designated places.

The Kanwar Yatra was cancelled last year too, amid the first wave of the pandemic