COVID fear: Borders of Uttarakhand to be sealed for Kanwariyas from July 24

DEHRADUN: The borders of Uttarakhand will be sealed for Kanwariyas from July 24.

The Uttarakhand government has decided to suspend the Kanwar Yatra for the safety of people in view of the looming threat of the third wave of COVID-19.

The borders of the state will be sealed for Kanwariyas from July 24, Uttarakhand Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar said.

However, barring Kanwariyas, there will be no restriction on the movement of others, he added.

With the start of the month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar on July 25, Kanwariyas begin to pour into Haridwar in large numbers to collect the holy water of the Ganga.

However, as the yatra has been suspended by the state government, Kanwariyas will be stopped at the state’s borders and returned from there.

The DGP asked police officials to strictly implement the order, saying if a Kanwariya enters Haridwar defying the suspension, he should be put under forced quarantine for 14 days.

The places where they would be kept in quarantine should be identified in advance, he said.

Police officials were also asked to prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) in consultation with the district magistrates concerned in view of the suspension of the Kanwar Yatra.

The DGP said if a Kanwariya is seen on the road, he should be sent back by bus or some other means of transport.

He also ordered the formation of Kanwar enforcement teams in Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri and Pauri districts to patrol the streets and enforce law and order during the period of the banned Kanwar Mela.

Kanwariyas coming by train to Haridwar should be asked to deboard at stations before Haridwar and sent back in buses.

The DGP said the IG (law and order) should hold a meeting in Haridwar with DIG-level officials of the neighbouring states to discuss how water from the Ganga can be sent to their states in tankers.

Meetings should be held with the Kanwar associations and committees to apprise them of the suspension of the yatra and records of such meetings should be kept at the police stations concerned so that action can be taken against the violators under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Shopkeepers in districts should be asked not to sell items related to the Kanwar Yatra, the DGP said.

However, the state police chief said those coming to Haridwar for immersing ashes should not be stopped.

The Uttarakhand government decided to suspend the Kanwar Yatra on Tuesday in view of the looming threat of a third wave of COVID-19.