DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar Thursday said the ‘Kanwariyas’ entering Haridwar despite the suspension of the Kanwar Yatra this year will be quarantined for 14 days.
The director general of police held a meeting with senior police officials here on effectively enforcing the suspension and asked them to identify places in and around Haridwar where such ‘Kanwariyas’ (devotees of lord Shiva) can be kept under quarantine.
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.
The DGP said if a ‘Kanwariya’ is seen on the road, he or she should be sent back by a bus or some other means of transport.
Police officials were also asked to prepare SOPs in consultation with district magistrates in view of the suspension of the annual ritual.
‘Kanwariyas’ coming by trains to Haridwar will be forced to deboard at stations before Haridwar and sent back in buses, he said.
He said IG (law and order) should hold a meeting in Haridwar with DIG-level officials of neighbouring states to discuss how Ganga water can be sent in tankers to their states.
Meetings should be held with Kanwar associations and committees to apprise them about the suspension of the yatra and a record of such meetings kept at police stations concerned so that action can be taken against violators under the epidemic act, he said.
Shopkeepers in districts should be asked not to sell items related to Kanwar Yatra, he said.
However, the DGP said those coming to Haridwar for immersing ashes should not be stopped.
The Uttarakhand government cancelled the Kanwar Yatra on Tuesday in view of the looming threat of a third wave of COVID-19.
Governments and people should together take all the steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday, referring to the “Kanwar Yatra”.
The Supreme Court issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday for allowing the “Kanwar Yatra” in the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Covid pandemic is a very serious matter. All governments and the people should take all those steps necessary to fight it,” Kejriwal said when asked for his views on the “Kanwar Yatra” during the pandemic on the sidelines of an event at the Delhi Assembly.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has allowed the “yatra” from July 25, despite concerns raised in various quarters over the risk posed by such events in triggering a possible third wave of Covid.
However, another BJP-ruled state, Uttarakhand, has cancelled the “yatra”.
Each year, during the rainy season, devotees in many states undertake the “Kanwar Yatra” to collect water from the Ganga and other rivers and offer it at the temples of Lord Shiva in major pilgrim centres.