Due to incessant rain, the movement of Amarnath-bound pilgrims from the Baltal route was suspended for the day after 7.40am on Wednesday. Till then, 3,124 yatris had crossed the access control gate at Domel towards the holy cave.
Remaining yatris were advised to stay at the Baltal base camp for the day and, weather permitting, will be allowed to move towards the holy cave on Thursday when the yatra resumes. However, yatris from the Pahalgam route were allowed to cross the access control gate at Chandanwari till 11am with a half-an-hour stoppage at 8am due to rain. From this side, 5,477 yatris left for Sheshnag and further for the pilgrimage, said Navin K Choudhary, CEO, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).
The CEO added that rigorous monitoring of weather situation commenced after Tuesday midnight and the CEO has been constantly in touch with the meteorological department, all camp directors, district officials and commandants of various security forces enroute yatra.
He directed the camp director, Domel, to finally suspend the movement of yatris towards the holy cave for the day around 10am as weather was not showing any sign of improvement and incessant rain had created slippery condition at various places on the yatra route from the Baltal side.
The CEO also directed the camp director, Sheshnag, to not allow any pilgrim to leave Sheshnag after 11am towards Panjtarni. He has spoken to the army officers and camp directors to ensure patrolling by security forces' personnel, rescue teams of the J&K police, personnel of NDRF and SDRF on the yatra route on Wednesday to help any stranded pilgrim.
At the end of 12th day of yatra on Tuesday, 1.73 lakh pilgrims had performed darshan at the holy cave. An average of 14,466 yatris are performing darshan every day.
Meanwhile, a pilgrim, Vijaya, from Srigandakavel, Karnataka, died due to cardiac arrest at the Baltal base camp on Tuesday. Expressing sadness, the CEO said the pilgrim along with her husband had reached the Baltal base camp on Monday and felt uneasiness.
She was immediately referred to government medical camp at Baltal, where she was thoroughly checked and advised by doctors not to proceed for the yatra. As per doctor's advice, she decided not to go for the yatra and was resting at the camp, when she died due to cardiac arrest.
The camp director, Baltal, immediately made arrangements for shifting the body to Sonamarg for completing legal formalities and further taking it to Srinagar.
Another pilgrim, JL Shaw, from Kolkata breathed his last at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, where he was admitted following illness on Tuesday. The pilgrim had reportedly performed his pilgrimage and, on his way back, fell sick and was immediately rushed to Srinagar for specialised treatment.
With these two unfortunate casualties, the death toll during the current yatra has risen to five.Meanwhile, a small batch of 1,558 pilgrims left the Jammu base camp for their onward journey to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir amid tight security.
As per police sources, the 14th batch of pilgrims, consisting of 1,558 devotees left from Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu at around 5am and the convoy included 48 vehicles.The batch included 1,081 males, 375 females, nine children and 93 'sadhus' left for Srinagar to perform Amarnath Yatra in a convey of 48 vehicles, including 39 buses and 9 light motor vehicles, they said.
In 14 days, 30,986 pilgrims have left Jammu base camp for Amarnath so far.