Haridwar administrator gives in, clears some tourists after questions raised during CM visit


Haridwar: The Haridwar administration on Thursday overturned its decision to barricade Har-ki-Pauri entry points to allow limited numbers of tourists during Ganga aarti after mounting pressure from Ganga Sabha officials, local priests and traders.

District officials have clarified that the barricade will not be carried out, although it is assured that Covid guidelines and social distancing will not be violated.

This decision comes following the organization of a sit-in by the president, the secretary general and the priests of Ganga Sabha against the administration’s decision on Wednesday evening.

Representatives of traders, hotel associations, Dharamshala-ashram committees also demanded that pilgrims and tourists be allowed during Ganga aarti.

Notably, since the lifting of Covid restrictions a fortnight ago, a sudden rush has been observed in Har-Ki-Pauri and the adjacent ghats of Ganga.

Bearing this in mind, the administration had for a few days sealed the entrance to Brahamkund’s sanctum sanctorum, Har-ki-Pauri.

Members of Ganga Sabha’s office had asked why police failed to seize or restrict the gathering of BJP workers when Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited for Ganga worship in Brahamkund on Wednesday.

“We oppose the movement of confinement, blocking, sealing and prohibitive entry rules in Har-Ki-Pauri, during the Ganga aarti evening. Why are strict rules applied only to pilgrims and are political gatherings allowed? The lifting of the covid curfew is being done in phases, shopping centers are also now open. So why maintain restrictions on pilgrims during Ganga aarti, ”said Ganga Sabha President Pradeep Jha.

Assuring the administration that Ganga Sabha will continue to ensure that its members and staff adhere to Covid-19 guidelines, its secretary general Tanmay Vashisth said that thanks to the public announcement system, pilgrims, tourists and the general public local people will be made aware of Covid security measures.

Police Superintendent Kamlesh Upadhyay said everyone should cooperate and understand that standards of social distancing and the wearing of face masks should be observed in public places.

A meeting was also organized by Ganga Sabha and the Bhimgoda-Khadkhadi Traders’ Division expressing their displeasure at the recent immoral act of partying, hookah smoking and dancing by some people in Har-Ki-Pauri and in the Adjacent ghats of Ganga.

Local priests and traders demanded police action against such behavior.

“On the one hand, they stop pilgrims in the ghats of Ganga, while on the other, such antisocial elements damage the religious atmosphere here,” said Prantiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal secretary Sanjay Triwal.

Meanwhile, police on Thursday arrested six tourists from Haryana, UP and Delhi from Malviya Ganga ghat and three from Risshikul Ganga ghat for nuisance.

As part of the campaign against such elements in the Ganga ghats, police patrols have been stepped up and offenders are registered to ensure the sanctity of the Ganga ghats, said municipal circle officer Abhay Singh.

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