'Can't play with people's lives,' Uttarakhand CM says cancelling Kanwar Yatra
Dehradun/IBNS: Uttarakhand has cancelled this year's Kanwar Yatra due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was taken by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami's government amid concerns over the risk posed by such huge gatherings in the face of the third wave.
"We, over the past many days, have discussed this a lot, spoke to authorities, and also officials in neighbouring states. The conclusion was that, in these times, we don't want to turn Haridwar into a centre of the pandemic," Chief Minister Dhami told the media.
"People's lives are our primary concern. We can't play around with that...Even the gods will not want people to die," he said announcing the decision to cancel the Yatra.
The Yatra had been cancelled last year, too, amid the first wave.
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged that only a minimum number of people should participate in the annual event, directing strict implementation of the COVID-19 protocol.
Kanwar Yatra is a fortnight-long yatra, which begins with the onset of the month of Shravan, around July 25 and continues till the first week of August.
It sees Kanwariyas (pilgrims) from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh gathering in Haridwar.