Vigil at Haridwar gates to verify kanwariyas, one automobile at a time

Vijender Singh and three buddies, driving bikes from Ludhiana, reach the Mandawar check-post on the Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand border in Haridwar district on Tuesday morning. Questioned by the Uttarakhand Police, Vijender says he’s going to Haridwar for “sewa karya (offering service)” at Har ki Pauri. However, the group neither have a detrimental RT-PCR report nor are they registered with the state authorities portal monitoring entry into Uttarakhand.

Sub-Inspector Anand Chauhan asks the 4 to show again. “There is no entry in Haridwar till August 7 because Kanwar Yatra is banned. You don’t have any valid document to prove a genuine reason for visiting Haridwar,” Chauhan tells Vijender, whilst a constable notes down the registration numbers of their bikes.

Starting July 25 when the kanwariya pilgrimage started, day-after-day, at this check-post alone, over 150 automobiles are turned away, because the Uttarakhand Police tries to separate potential kanwariyas from these with real causes and detrimental experiences, to implement a state authorities ban on entry of pilgrims because of Covid fears. As per a Haridwar police report, 26,217 kanwariyas had been despatched again from over 15 border check-posts and inside the town until Wednesday.

While Vijender insists he isn’t a kanwariya and never conscious of restrictions on entry into Uttarakhand, Chauhan says they may document the 4 buddies as kanwariyas as “they did not have negative Covid reports and registration, and had no valid reason to visit Haridwar”. “We assume that they were kanwariyas and going to Har ki Pauri for collecting Gangajal,” the S-I says.

Around 20 police personnel guard the Mandawar check-post always, in two shifts of 12 hours every. Overall, 800 police personnel are deployed on kanwar obligation at totally different areas throughout Haridwar. With a lot of the kanwariyas coming to Haridwar from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, all automobiles from these states are checked.

About an hour after Vijender has left, Rakesh Tyagi arrives along with his spouse and two youngsters. The couple are vaccinated and urge the policemen to allow them to in. When a police personnel asks him to gather Gangajal as an alternative from the tanker stationed near the check-post by the federal government for pilgrims, Tyagi says, “We have a religious function in the family after a few days and need to take a dip in the Ganga as part of the ritual.”

He guarantees to return straight after visiting the temple, and police lastly let the household undergo, however after they’ve registered on a authorities portal.

The most insistent are these coming with ashes of relations for immersion within the Ganga. A police personnel says that between Monday and Tuesday, greater than 200 households had approached the check-post for the aim.

One of them is Vomple Singh, right here from Sirsa with the ashes of her aunt. Police cease the household as 11 of them are packed in a automobile, with none carrying a Covid report. Chauhan says the federal government SOP solely permits 4 for immersion of ashes, and the household is instructed to assign some, who’re cleared after present process a fast antigen take a look at.

The SP (City) and nodal in-charge for Kanwar Yatra, Kamlesh Upadhyay, says, “Segregating kanwariyas from other tourists is the main challenge for police personnel. We are keeping a close watch on Har Ki Pauri, have deployed shuttle buses at railway stations to drop kanwariyas found in trains to the nearest bus station and borders, and tankers of Gangajal have been placed at border points for devotees to collect water from there and go back.”

On July 25, police booked 14 kanwariyas who had come from Haryana and entered Haridwar as peculiar vacationers and reached Har ki Pauri, and put them in quarantine. At least 15 kanwariyas have been put in institutional quarantine to this point for violating Covid norms, whereas 31 FIRs have been lodged and 66 individuals booked. A high-quality of Rs 1.93 lakh has been collected.

Uttarakhand receives the majority of the Kanwar Yatra pilgrims, headed for locations reminiscent of Haridwar, Gangotri and Gaumukh to gather Ganga water to hold again home as providing at Shiva temples. The yatra has been suspended now for 2 years because of Covid. In 2019, Uttarakhand had obtained round 3.5 crore pilgrims.

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