Pushkar Singh Dhami on kanwar yatra: ‘God would not like anyone to die’

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday said that the kanwar yatra is a matter of shraddha (reverence) and aastha (faith), adding that “god would not like anyone to die”.

Devotees from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh take part in the annual kanwar yatra, visiting Haridwar and Rishikesh to collect Gangajal.

The previous Uttarakhand government led by Tirath Singh Rawat had decided to cancel the yatra for this year. However, after Dhami assumed the top post, the government decided to reconsider the move.

Speaking to the media a day after holding a discussion on the annual pilgrimage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, Dhami said, “Before me, a decision had already been taken by the state cabinet on June 30 that the kanwar yatra will not be allowed. Lekin fir bhi hamne socha ki yeh shradhha aur aastha ka vishay hai. Lekin shradha aur aastha ka vishay bhagwan se juda hua hota hai aur bhagwan bhi nahi chahenge ki kisi ki jaan jaye. (Still, I thought that it is a matter of reverence and faith. A matter of reverence and faith is associated with god and even god would not like anyone to die).”

Dhami said that a meeting of officials from two-three states has been held with regards to the pilgrimage. “Our first priority is that people’s life is not in danger, that their life remains safe. That means no one should die,” he said.

A senior official said the state government wants to be cautious before taking a decision on whether or not to allow the kanwar yatra, in view of the criticism it had drawn for allowing the Kumbh Mela in April, during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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