2.20 lac pilgrims perform yatra so far, 48 die

Srinagar: A fresh batch of 1,782 pilgrims in an army-escorted convoy of 62 vehicles left Jammu at 3:40 am to perform Amarnath Yatra in the Himalayas of Kashmir Valley on Wednesday.

More than 2.20 lakh yatris have performed the yatra since the last 21 days after the yatra commenced on June 29, flagged off by the deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.

48 pilgrims have died during this year’s yatra so far.

Of these, 17 persons died on July 15 in a road accident when a bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and rolled down into a deep gorge in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, 3 other pilgrims died in other road accidents, and eight pilgrims were killed in the July 10 attack on forces at Batengo in Anantnag district, 7 of which died on the spot and the 8th succumbed to injuries days later in a hospital, and 20 pilgrims died of natural causes.

Those injured in the bus accident at Ramban, were airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed shock over bus tragedy.

Jammu and Kashmir government also issued helpline numbers to enquire about Amarnath Yatris travelling in the bus that met with accident in Ramban.

Over 35,000 personnel from the Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Jammu and Kashmir police (JKP) have been deployed for the security of yatris.

The yatris approach the cave shrine in the Himalayas either through the traditional 46-km long Pahalgam track or through the 14-km long Baltal track.

A helicopter service is also available for the pilgrims on both the routes.

The yatra will conclude on August 7 on the occasion of Shravan Purnima coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.

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