India bans Muslim gatherings but allows Amarnath yatra

the authorities who are taking guidelines directly from New Delhi, are set to allow a Hindu pilgrimage despite rising coronavirus infections and deaths.

Under an order, Indian authorities prohibited all social and religious gatherings but at the same time is allowing a Hindu pilgrimage to a shrine in Amarnath cave at an elevation of 3,888 meters (12,775 feet) in the Phalgam area of south Kashmir which will begin from July 23.

Authorities in the region said the pilgrimage will be undertaken in a “restricted manner” beginning at the end of this month, with 500 Hindu pilgrims allowed per day.

This year the pilgrimage period has been cut short from 42 days to 15, however, critics and health experts in the region warn that people coming from other Indian states hard hit by the virus will carry infections to the region as well.

“Already we have more than 8,000 cases here, and from the last three days, more than 20 deaths have taken place,” a resident doctor dealing with COVID-19 cases told media. “I ask the government if we can afford this crisis more.”