Udayavni Special

U’khand HC stays State govt’s decision permitting Chardham Yatra


PTI, Jun 28, 2021, 5:36 PM IST

Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday stayed the Chardham Yatra reversing a State Cabinet’s decision to open it partially for residents of three districts from July 1.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the State government’s arrangements for pilgrims and tourists during the yatra amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma stayed the decision to permit residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts to visit Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

The State Cabinet had on June 25 decided to open the yatra for the residents of these districts where the famous Himalayan temples are located.

On the State government’s assertion that live streaming rituals performed at the temples were against the traditions, the court said it is being sympathetic towards the emotions of the priests.

The court made the observations while hearing a petition related to the risks involved in conducting the yatra amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rejecting the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the state government for the yatra, the court said they were just a copy of the guidelines issued during the Kumbh Mela.

The court has all along been asking the state government to suspend the yatra so that it does not become another ”Covid super spreader” like the Kumbh.

However, considering the sentiments attached with the temples, the court asked the government to make arrangements for nationwide live streaming of the ongoing ceremonies.

On an objection raised by the state government that telecasting such events is not in tune with the traditions, the court said it is being sympathetic towards the emotions of the priests.

“Yet, it must be kept in mind that when the shastras (scriptures) were written there was no technology like television for broadcasting important events,” the court said.

The court further observed that it is more important to save everyone from the Delta Plus mutant of coronavirus rather than being considerate towards the feelings of a few.

Interpreting the court’s order, the petitioner’s advocate Dushyant Mainali said no physical permission will now be granted to anyone for the yatra.

Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash and Tourism Secretary Dalip Jawalkar were also virtually present at the hearing.

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