Mahant Deependra Giri, the custodian of the holy mace of Lord Shiva, on Wednesday supported the decision of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) to cancel this year’s pilgrimage to the cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
“The annual yatra has been prematurely ended in the past due to various reasons but it is for the first time that the pilgrimage has been cancelled at the outset. Given the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the right decision,” Giri said in a video message here.
Giri, who is the custodian of the ‘Charri Mubarak’, carries the holy mace from its abode at Akhara building in Lal Chowk here to the holy cave in south Kashmir Himalayas in the last week of the yatra and then back to its resting place after performing the rituals at various places in either side of the journey.
He said the decision could be taken only due to “Lord Shiva’s wish”.
“The devotees should benefit from the live telecast of the morning and evening aarti on Doordarshan. When things will improve next year, we shall have even more numbers than earlier performing the yatra,” Giri added.
The SASB on Tuesday had decided to cancel this year’s pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas in the wake of the closure of religious places in Jammu and Kashmir due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to cancel the annual Amarnath Yatra was taken at a meeting of the shrine board chaired by its chairman Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu here.
In a tweet, the department of information and public relations said that a “complete lockdown” will be imposed in all red districts from today evening till 6 am on 27 July.
It said that all agricultural and construction activities will continue as per DMRR guidelines. “Movement of goods carriers/ LPG & Oil tankers to continue unhindered,” it said, in the tweet.
The announcement comes in the backdrop of a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Jammu and Kashmir, especially Kashmir valley. ( PTI )