New Delhi: A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking restriction on the access of the general public/devotees in this year’s Amarnath Yatra due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The petitioners have also sought direction to the Centre to provide ‘live darshan’ of the shrine through internet and television.
The plea, by the Amarnath Barfani Langar organisation, said that in the present situation, where the Centre and the governments of various states have been fighting the outbreak of Covid-19, the petitioners have “suggested to the Shrine Board to have a Live Darshan of the Lord Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine, which will reach crores of people. This is more so when the entire country has been adopting an eplatform, including the courts. This will also enable the worship, pooja, and darshan to reach several people while they are in their houses”.
Annually, around 3 lakh devotees visit the Himalayan cave shrine, and if this is allowed, then it may lead to spread of the disease, argued the plea.
The plea has also contended though the shrine board has not given permission to begin the annual pilgrimage, yet few bhandara organisations had been asked to reach the venue by June 28 and asked to begin service (seva) from July 3 onwards till August 3. This move indicates that there may be some plans to give requisite permission for the annual pilgrimage, therefore the petitioner moved the apex court seeking direction to the Centre to restrict access to the general public/devotees.
To mention, the government of J&K is going ahead with the Amarnath Yatra even though it has said it will restrict the number of devotees to 500 per day. Besides, all the visitors have to necessarily go through administrative quarantine.
Apart from the Centre, Jammu and Kashmir administration and the shrine board have also been made respondents in the plea.