Kanwar Yatra and covid
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The supreme court has sou motu taken cognizance of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath administration’s decision to allow Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh and cancelled the permission in the wake of Corona pandemic. This is a very balanced and correct verdict given by SC. When the rulers forget their duty towards the security of the citizens of the state, the judiciary comes forward and protect people’s lives. In this case, the SC has done the same and for that, it must be congratulated. At the same time, the SC has considered the religious sentiments of the people and entrusted the government to bring the holy Ganga water from Haridwar and distribute it to devotees to offer at Shiva temples in the country. Yogi Aditynath has political compulsion to permit Kanwar Yatra in the state as UP is going to polls earlier next year. As there is huge displeasure against his government regarding the handling of the Corona crisis, Yogiji has other means to attract the voters. He knows only one way to garner votes and that is to polarize Hindu votes. The same tactics are used by Muslim hardliners. But we have to come out of this religious polarization by both parties. The country has seen thousands of dead bodies of Covid patients thrown out in Ganges, the people are quite angry about Yogiji. He has the fear of the anger may reflect into election voting and so he wants to polarize religious matters to appease Hindus. Of course, in a normal situation, there is no need to criticize or oppose his decision. But, this is not normal circumstances and there is a Covid pandemic becoming stronger once again. In such a situation, any event which can cause a large gathering of people should be averted. The SC has done the same thing. Now, Kanwariya are banned to go to the Ganges in a large gathering. The government will bring holy water in tankers and provide it to devotees residing in the near vicinity. In Kumbh Mela, Yogi Adityanath has unnecessarily permitted to the event and till the centre woke up from its sleep, more than one lakh people had gathered in Varanasi. The event led to the Corona wave becoming more severe and finally centre cancelled the permission to the Mela. But, the damage had already been done. This time, the centre has taken a very mature view of Kanwar Yatra and it has told the SC that, any state government should not permit Kanwariyas to go to the Ganges and bring the holy water. As the scientists and experts have warned that Covid third wave is likely to hit the country, the UP government should reconsider the permission to symbolic Kanwar Yatra. While giving the verdict, the SC has registered an important observation that the health of citizens and their life is paramount above all. It has also sought response from the UP government till 19th July, while the Yatra starts from 25th July. SC states that It concerns all of us and is at the heart of the fundamental right to life. The health of citizens of India and the right to life is paramount, all other sentiments whether being religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right. As a response to the SC decision, the government is in talks with Kanwar sanghs to convince them to call of the yatra. Last year too it was these sanghs that had decided to call it off. If all sides take a mature view, any problem can be settled. This is an example of this. Centre told the top court that states shall not be allowed to hold Kanwar Yatra in view of Covid and arrangements for Ganga water should be made by tankers at specified places. This is a very mature view by the Central government.