China: Devotees at Kailash Mansarovar are alleging that the Chinese authorities are not allowing them to take a “holy” dip in the Mansarovar Lake, according to a priest, who is leading a delegation of devotees from India. In a video posted on Twitter, a priest named Sanjeev Thakur has claimed China has issued an order that has barred the devotees from taking a dip in the Mansarovar Lake.
“There are around 50-80 devotees accompanying me. Over 3,000 people from across the world are undertaking this pilgrimage. But, according to an order by China, we are not being allowed to take a holy dip in the Mansarovar Lake,” Thakur claimed in the video. “If we are not being allowed, then why were we issued visas and permits?”, he added. Thakur also said if they are not allowed to take the dip, they would not leave the place. However, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj has refuted the claim.
“This isn’t the situation. There is always a designated place where you can take a bath, you cannot take a dip just anywhere in the river,” Swaraj said while addressing a press conference in Delhi on the completion of four years in power of the Narendra Modi-led government. Thousands of Indian pilgrims take part in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year by travelling in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China via Nepal ahead of the monsoon season.
Each year, the tour is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) between June and September in cooperation with the Chinese government through two different routes – Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). The Nathu La route was opened to Indian pilgrims in 2015. After crossing over the pass, the pilgrims are ferried to Kailash by transport.