Friday, 17 September 2021 | PNS | New Tehri
The devotees waiting for Darshan of the deities in the Char Dham shrines in Uttarakhand now have a reason to rejoice with the Uttarakhand High Court vacating the stay on the pilgrimage with certain conditions on Thursday.
The Char Dham pilgrimage was stalled due to the restrictions put in place in view of the Covid-19 pandemic by the high court earlier but now after wait of more than thirteen months it has permitted the Yatra with some restrictions.
The temple priests of all the four shrines have welcomed the development. The council representing the government said that the Covid situation is now under control hence the stay should be vacated. The government will introduce new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for this purpose soon. It is pertinent to mention here that the high court had stayed the Yatra on June 26 due to the Covid surge. The government had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the HC order but withdrew it later. The business community and all those including members of the religious fraternity, dependent on income from pilgrimage have suffered considerable economic losses due to stay on the pilgrimage. The Gangotri Mandir Samiti secretary Deepak Semwal and Yamunotri Mandir Samiti secretary Kriteshwar Uniyal have welcomed the move. They said the pilgrims will be able to undertake the pilgrimage following Covid protocol.
It is also worth mentioning here that the stalling of the Char Dham pilgrimage was also being exploited by political parties and some protesters especially in view of the Assembly elections to be held next year in the state. Political observers opine that while the decision of the high court has come as a relief for the economic stakeholders and devotees, it has come as a mixed development for politicians wanting to score more points from the issue.