Haryana, UP ban ‘Kanwariyas’ with hockey sticks, baseball bats

Chandigarh, July 25 (IANS) The governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on Saturday banned Kanwariyas carrying hockey sticks and baseball bats and playing loud music during their annual pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Senior officers of Haryana’s Sonipat district met officers of Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh in Sonipat on Saturday to decide on measures to ensure Kanwariyas’ safety and security during the yatra.

The prohibition came in the wake of incidents in the past in which Kanwariyas got into heated arguments with motorists and others, leading to violent incidents. In some instances, hockey sticks and baseball bats were used as weapons, resulting in injuries.

Kanwariyas carry water from Ganga river at Haridwar to their respective temples in villages and towns to finally offer it to Lord Shiva by pouring it on ‘Shivling’, the phallic symbol.

About a million Kanwariyas undertake the about 100 km arduous yatra, most of them by walking from Haridwar to various northern states during the holy month of Shravan (July -August).

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