Five pilgrims, CRPF jawan die; Amarnath Yatra toll rises to 13

  • Navneet Dubey, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2015 22:00 IST

Five pilgrims and a CRPF jawan died of natural causes on Wednesday, taking the death toll during the ongoing Amarnath Yatra to 13, even as the number of pilgrims visiting the 3,880-metre high cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas crossed the two-lakh mark.

The 59-day annual pilgrimage, which has its base camps in Pahalgam and Baltal in south and north-east Valley respectively, began on July 2.

Last year, the same number of devotees paid obeisance at the shrine, which house a naturally-formed ice lingam of Lord Shiva, in 16 days.

The yatra was brief halted for a couple of days due to inclement weather since it began, but officials said timely opening of on-spot registration counters in Jammu, on June 29 itself, led to more pilgrims undertaking the journey.

The deceased are: CRPF jawan Sunil Kumar Yadav, 33, Rameshvarji, 65, from Madhya Pradesh, Nandi Singh, 45, of Maharashtra, and Sanjay Nodia, 46, who died late on Tuesday.

On Wednesday 17,515 devotees paid obeisance at the shrine, the shrine management said, while the overall number so far is 2,03,565.

Meanwhile, amidst tight security, a fresh batch comprising 2,415 pilgrims left from the Bagwati Nagar base camp to the twin base camps. It includes 1,705 men, 561 women, 52 children and 97 sadhus (god-men), who were ferried in 60 vehicles.

The pilgrims will leave for the holy cave early Thursday morning.

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