Custodian of the holy mace of Amarnath cave, Mahant Deependra Giri (file photo)
Custodian of the holy mace of Amarnath cave, Mahant Deependra Giri (file photo)

Mahant Giri supports decision to cancel Amarnath Yatra, suggests pilgrims take advantage of live telecasting

ANI | Updated: Jul 21, 2020 23:03 IST

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): Mahant Deependra Giri, the custodian of the holy mace of Lord Shiva welcomed the decision to cancel this year's Amarnath Yatra in the wake of coronavirus situation and suggested that pilgrims take advantage of live telecasting /virtual darshan of the morning and evening Aarti.
"I have just got to know that Amarnath pilgrimage has been cancelled due toCOVID-19 pandemic. Though it is disappointing but I believe it is an appropriate decision in the prevailing circumstances. It is also in the interest of safety and security of pilgrims, all government and security personnel," Giri said.
"I will suggest for pilgrims who planned for pilgrimage this year that they may take advantage of live telecasting. Watch morning and evening aarti and darshan during Shravan till Shravan poornima. I am sure that state government will make arrangements for Chhari Mubarak as per the schedule to reach the holy cave on Shravan Poornima to reserve the age-old traditions," he said.
The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) on Tuesday said that this year's Amarnath Yatra has been cancelled due to conditions created by COVID-19.
The decision was taken at a meeting of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that was presided by Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, who is Chairman of SASB.

"Based upon the circumstances, the Board decided with a heavy heart that it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year's Shri Amarnathji Yatra and expressed its regret to announce the cancellation of Yatra 2020. The Board is aware of and respects the sentiments of millions of devotees and to keep the religious sentiments alive, the Board shall continue the Live Telecast/ Virtual Darshan of the morning and evening Aarti," said a release by Raj Bhavan.
It said the traditional rituals shall be carried out as per past practice and Chhadi Mubarak shall be facilitated by the government.
According to the release, the Board was informed that the arrangements were on track since February 2020, but due to nationwide lockdown and pandemic, State Executive Committee, J&K has still continued to keep religious places and places of worship closed for the public. These prohibitions continue till July 31.
"The Board further discussed that pandemic has put the health administration system to its limit. The spike has been particularly very sharp in July. Health workers and security forces are also getting infected and the focus of entire Medical, Civil and Police Administration at the moment is on containing the local transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The health concerns are so serious that the strain on the health system, along with the diversion in resources to the Yatra, will be immense. This would also unnecessarily put the Yatris at risk of catching the COVID-19," the release said.
The Board also deliberated the views of the government.
"The government made reasoned observations supported by facts which suggested that it would not be advisable to conduct Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2020 and it would be advisable to cancel it this year in larger public interest. This would enable the Health, Civil and Police Administrations to focus on the immediate challenges facing them rather than diverting resources, manpower and attention to the conduct of the Shri Amarnathji Yatra," read the release (ANI)