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Uttarakhand HC stays Char Dham Yatra, raps state govt

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  • HC expresses unhappiness at state’s failure to present a convincing roadmap in wake of looming threat of third wave of Covid-19

Nainital: Coming down heavily on the state government for lack of a proper road map to organizing Char Dham Yatra with proper implementation of Covid-related rules, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday put a stay on the permission granted for the yatra. It is scheduled to begin from July 1.

The Uttarakhand government had announced on June 20 that the Char Dham Yatra would start in two phases. Residents of Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi would be allowed from July 1 while people from the rest of the state would be allowed to visit the four temples from July 11. The four pilgrimage destinations in the Char Dham Yatra are Yamunotri Dham, Gangotri Dham, Badrinath Dham and Kedarnath Dham.

Last week, the HC had asked the state government to review its decision, citing the cancellation of the Amarnath Yatra. It also mentioned the mismanagement of Kumbh Mela in April where several thousand people had gathered in blatant violation of the Covid-19 protocol.

It had asked the government to give details of how the latter would ensure implementation of Covid-related rules, including social distancing, amid the likelihood of a possible third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also wanted to know how the state would ensure mandatory RT-PCR testing for visitors to the shrines. However, the responses of the government failed to convince the court which then ordered a stay on the government’s decision to allow the yatra.

The court also directed the state government to arrange for live online darshan of the shrines.

 

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