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Amarnath Yatra: Plea in Supreme Court seeks restricted entry for general public, devotees due to COVID-19; prays for live Darshan

The plea seeks directions to ensure that live darshan of the ice lingam and the yatra is shown on television and the internet to satiate the religious sentiments of devotees.

Debayan Roy

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking restricted entry for the general public and pilgrims at the Amarnath Yatra, in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The plea filed through Advocate-on-Record Amit Pai has urged the Court to issue directions to ensure that live darshan of the ice lingam and the yatra is shown on television and the internet to satiate the religious sentiments of devotees.

The petition by Shri Amarnath Barfani Langars Organisation states that though no formal date for the Amarnath Yatra has been announced as yet, the Shrine Board has given permissions to a few Bhandara organizations, to reach the venue on or before June 28, and to start the service (seva) from July 3.

The petitioner organisation states that if attendance of pilgrims js allowed, it would cause a "serious public health issue in the present pandemic situation."

The rationale behind allowing the yatra to be held this year is also questioned. However, the petition maintains that it is not seeking to cancel the yatra in totality. The plea states,

"Shrine Board had initially decided on 22.04.2020 to cancel the Shri Amarnath Yatra 2020 for pilgrims/devotees, in order to not put them in the harms way and to contain the Covid 19 virus. However, within a few hours, the decision was withdrawn. There is no rationale for the withdrawal of the cancellation of the Yatra for the pilgrims."

Plea filed in the Supreme Court

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