Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La cancelled

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Jul 2017 09:32:48


NEW DELHI,

June 30,

(PTI),

THE Government on Friday called off the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim in view of rising tensions between India and China, stopping the third batch of pilgrims which had gathered in Delhi for the holy trek from moving any further. The decision to suspend the yatra from Sikkim came after a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops over a disputed area along the Sino-Indian border.

Though the yatra through Nathu La will not take place this year, pilgrims travelling through the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand will continue as scheduled, a Government official said. The Government has informed 400 people -- in a total of eight batches -- who wished to take the Nathu La route to the high altitude area, believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, that the pilgrimage from this end had been called off. China had issued visas for first two batches while the visa applications for the other pilgrims were put on hold because of the tension along the border.

The first batch returned to Gangtok on June 23 after spending three days in Nathu La, awaiting permission from the Chinese side for the onward journey. The second batch of pilgrims did not move from Gangtok and was eventually told to return home. The third batch was to have left Delhi shortly for Sikkim. The Government decided to call off the yatra after Beijing put a precondition to New Delhi, saying that it would give permission to the pilgrims to cross into Tibet only if India moved its troops from the troubled Doklam area near Sikkim.

In Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh, an official said pilgrims who had been denied entry by China through Nathu La may be allowed to join the yatra that takes the Uttarakhand route, but only if there were any dropouts. “Seven or eight pilgrims who were denied entry through Nathu La by Chinese authorities have expressed their desire to take this route,” said D K Sharma, regional tourism officer in the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), the nodal agency for the yatra. They could be accommodated in the yatra from Lipulekh if any vacancies arise, he said.