Kanwar Yatra: a gathering of 4 million people during the Kovid period

On July 12, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) warned that a third wave of Kovid was imminent. The IMA wants tourism and gatherings of believers to be avoided. The IMA warning comes in the wake of the annual rath yatra in Puri, Odisha in northern India, and Kanwar yatra in Uttarakhand.

Puri Rath Yatra

The state government had decided earlier this year not to hold rath yatras in the entire state of Odisha. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in the first week of July. The decision has been made to hold the chariot festival only in Puri and only in the Jagannath temples.

puri rath yatra 2021

Puri Jagannath Chariot Festival 2021. Photo: ANI

The Superior Court had accepted the decision of the state government. The Supreme Court dismissed the petitions questioning this. Also last year, the Supreme Court had called for the car festival to be shortened. This time, the central government argued that the car festival could only be held following Kovid’s protocol. This was not considered by the court.

What is Kanwar Yatra?

Kanwar Yatra is a Hindu festival located in the state of Uttarakhand. Devotees travel to Haridwar, Gomukh, Gangotri in Uttarakhand, and Sultanganj in Bihar during the month of Shravan (July). The Ganges River in these places collects water in two containers. It hangs like a scale on a bamboo pole called a canvas. Return to the field on foot. The anointing is performed in the Shiva temples in the respective areas.

Kanwar Yatra 2021 Uttarakhand

Travel to Kanwar. Photo: BCCL

Why the controversy about the trip this time?

It is in the context of Kovid that the need to avoid travel arises. In 2019 alone, three million people participated in Kanwar Yatra. The trip was canceled in 2020. Most of the devotees come from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Experts warn that it would not be appropriate to allow extensive travel when Kovid is out of control.

What is the position of governments?

The BJP government of Uttarakhand Tirat Singh Rawat had previously canceled the Kanwar yatra. But when the new government came to power, the issue was discussed again. The new chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, has said that the Kanwar Yatra should be avoided.

“Uttarakhand is the only place. Millions of people come from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The decision will be made in consultation with other states.” The Chief Minister continues in an interview with the Hindi news channel Ajjhatak.

Kanwar yatra

Travel to Kanwar. Photo: BCCL

“Millions of people have faith. But people’s lives should not be threatened. The first priority is saving lives. God does not like people to lose their lives because of travel.”

In Uttar Pradesh, things are the other way around. The Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, has given permission for the Yatra. The booth is that travel should be allowed starting July 25. Ask to produce an RT-PCR certificate if necessary. Kovid should be allowed to travel according to the protocols, Yogi Adityanath said, according to various media reports.

Congress wants the cancellation of the trip I ask. The Modi government, the states and the people must unite to fight the third wave. This should be our first priority as a country, Congress demanded in a tweet.

Don’t be the next Aquarius

The government does not want the next Kumbh Mela to be repeated through the Kanwar Yatra. According to official figures, 35 lakh people attended the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand from April 1 to 30.

Kumbh Mela

Aquarium 2021. Photo: BCCL

At the same time, massive demonstrations for Assembly elections were held in the states, including Bengal. In Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has not decided to stop the Kumbh Mela despite the number of cases exceeding 1,000 per day. Kovid falsified negative certificates and thousands of people continued to attend the Kumbh Mela, turning the conference into a superdirectory.

After much criticism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that the Kumbh Mela be performed on April 17 as a mere ritual. With this, the crowd at the Kumbh Mela dwindled again and the Kovid cases decreased. Uttarakhand is trying to avoid a similar situation.

Hundreds of thousands of people camp in various places and travel on foot. Now not only pedestrians but also vehicles are used. Uttarakhand has argued that Kovid’s social distancing and restrictions cannot be enforced during multi-hour traffic jams in cities like Delhi and Meerut.

Kanwar’s travel politics

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Kanwar’s travels were unpopular. During the months of Mahashivaratri and Shravan, very few Hindu monks and spiritual leaders traveled to Haridwar to collect water from the Ganges.

The travelers were referred to as Kanwaria. This is not a breed. The women hadn’t made this trip either. The trip attracted more people in the 1990s. Hindutva in particular was a big part of that. This was due to the Hindu extremist organization, Hindu Yuva Vahini. After the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Hindutva had a great influence and advocates of extremist nationalism largely formed committees and emphasized travel. First comment The report says.

Kanwar yatra

Travel to Kanwar. Photo: BCCL

In 2007, there were 50 lakh Kanwar devotees in Haridwar. By 2017, it had crossed 3 million rupees.

At the same time, travel-related atrocities increased. Cannabis use and assaults with a weapon were frequently reported. In 2018, the trip turned into a huge controversy. In Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, a car with a baseball bat hit a convoy.

Elections will take place in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh next year. Yogi Adityanath’s interventions show that the BJP needs a convoy to maintain the Hindutva vote bank. The central government is showing more vigilance after the Kumbh Mela. Kovid-19 thinks a third wave will not be allowed in India Modi government. Violations of the COVID-19 protocol are widespread in the country Profit will be eliminated The government had warned that this too.


Also Read:  50,000 each for the families of the deceased and a monthly pension of 2,500 rupees; Delhi government plan for Kovid victims

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