Noting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that “we cannot compromise even a bit” on Covid pandemic as the third wave is lurking, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was a “little disturbed” as it took suo motu cognisance of news reports that the Uttar Pradesh government was going to allow Kanwar Yatra from July 25 and sought responses from the state and Centre.
Taking into account contradictory voices, including the Uttarakhand government’s decision to call off the yatra, the bench of Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai directed the UP and Uttarakhand governments to file their response within two days and posted the next hearing for July 16.
“The headline just above this headline speaks about the Prime Minister’s statement when he met the northeastern chief ministers that when people ask about the third wave of the Covid-19 virus striking the citizenry of India, it’s up to us to stop it and we cannot compromise ‘even a bit’. Given the disparate political voices, all speaking at the same time, it is important that the relevant secretary, Union of India, respond to this news report,” the order said.
The bench said: “Given the fact that this yatra is to take off from July 25, it is necessary to fix a short time period for this case. Affidavits will be filed by Friday morning, July 16, responding to the aforesaid news article…”
The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday decided to cancel the Kanwar Yatra, ending days of speculation that the Pushkar Dhami-led government may reverse the decision taken by the previous Tirath Rawat administration on cancelling the yatra.
“At a time when the threat of Covid-19 is still looming and a case of the Delta-plus variant has also been reported from Uttarakhand, we cannot allow Haridwar to become a hotbed of the pandemic,” Dhami said while announcing his government’s decision. “People’s lives are important and we cannot play around with them. It is important to save lives during a pandemic. Even God will not like it if any lives are lost,” he said.