Haridwar Police has asked people to not arrive in the Uttarakhand district for Kanwar Yatra, news agency ANI reported on Thursday. The state government has already suspended the religious pilgrimage, slated to begin from July 25, due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

In a notice, the police has said that all entry & exit points of Haridwar districts have been sealed & there is no permission to participate in the Kanwar Yatra.

It also said that people coming to Haridwar from other states have to mandatorily undergo 14-day institutional quarantine. “Vehicle of anyone attempting to enter the district will be seized and action taken under Disaster Management Act,” the police notice further said.

Uttarakhand government took the decision to suspend the Kanwar Yatra on Tuesday. It sees lakhs of devotees undertake an arduous religious trek to Haridwar in month of Shravan to take back the water of river Ganga and offer it to Lord Shiva.

“We discussed with higher officials and with officials from neighbouring states and decided that we will not hold Kanwar Yatra at this time. A variant has been found in Gadarpur so we don’t want to make Haridwar the centre of Covid,” chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

Uttarakhand minister Subodh Uniyal said on Wednesday that faith in religion doesn’t mean we can play with lives. “The IMA (INdian Medical Association) has warned of a third wave. Even the prime minister had expressed concern over it. The decision to cancel Kanwar Yatra has been taken in larger public interest,” said Uniyal, who is also the state government’s official spokesman.

Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, has said that it will allow the pilgrimage to go on, earning a frown from the Supreme Court which took suo motu cognisance of the issue and issued notice to UP government and the Centre. The top court has sought their responses and posted the matter for hearing on Friday.

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