Coronavirus fallout : Amarnath Yatra 2020 cancelled amidst raging COVID-19 outbreak

As the coronavirus outbreak continues its relentless march across the nation with the number of COVID-19 caseloads surging past the 11.5 lakhs mark, the Jammu and Kashmir government on July 21 said that the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has decided that it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s Shri Amarnath Yatra.

“The board has expressed its regret to announce the cancellation of Yatra 2020,” the J&K government said in a statement.

However, the statement from the Jammu and Kashmir administration added that the board will continue to broadcast live telecast of the morning and evening aarti. Keeping in sentiments of the millions of devotees, the SASB released a statement, assuring that they will continue to broadcast live feed from the Amarnath cave and all the traditional rituals shall be carried out as per past practices.

“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. Further, the traditional rituals shall be carried out as per past practice. Also, the Chhadi Mubarak shall be facilitated by the Government,” SASB said in a statement.

The Supreme Court, in an order this month, had asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to take a call on organising the annual Hindu pilgrimage, taking into account the ground reality.

Every year, about 10 lakh devotees visit the Amarnath cave shrine. This is the second year in a row that the pilgrimage would not be carried out. Last year, the holy expedition was cancelled on account of security concerns and in light of intelligence inputs stating terror threats targeted at the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims.

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