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New Delhi: The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has cancelled the Kanwar Yatra amid fear of a possible third wave of coronavirus.

The yatra was scheduled to start on July 25.

According to UP's Additional Chief Secretary, Information, Navneet Sehgal, the Kanwar unions cancelled the annual yatra on appeal of the state government.

This came after the Supreme Court asked the state government to inform it by July 19 whether it would reconsider its decision to hold a "symbolic" yatra.

All sentiments, including religious, are subservient to the Right to Life, the Supreme Court had said.  

A hit on Hindu sentiments, we don't accept this decision: VHP

Reacting to this development, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) Delhi unit spokesperson Vinod Bansal said that people who are sensitive about coronavirus are not looking at political rallies or farmers' protests.

This is a hit on Hindu sentiments, and we don't accept this decision, he told media.

The direction from the apex court came after the Uttar Pradesh government told the bench it has decided to hold a "symbolic" Kanwar Yatra with appropriate COVID-19 restrictions.

Last year, 'Kanwar Sanghs' had cancelled the annual pilgrimage after holding talks with the government.

Uttarakhand govt had cancelled Kanwar Yatra on July 13

Earlier this week, the Uttarakhand government cancelled the annual ritual that sees thousands of Shiva devotees called "kanwariyas" travel on foot to collect water from the Ganges and bring it back to their villages.

To prevent their entry, the Uttarakhand government said that the state's Borders will remain sealed, and a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the police will also be deployed.

Meanwhile, 81 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, taking the total infection count in the state to 17,07,822, while the death toll climbed to 22,715 with six fresh fatalities.

As per the state government's health bulletin, one death each was reported from Agra, Hapur, Amethi, Ambedkar Nagar, Auraiya and Jalaun.
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