SRINAGAR: After remaining suspended for four consecutive days in wake of the deadly cloudburst, Amarnath Yatra resumed on Tuesday on the Baltal route in the Ganderbal district in central Kashmir.
The Amarnath Yatra was suspended for four days due to fatalities caused by flash floods following a cloudburst. The cloudburst claimed 16 lives and left several injured. A fresh batch of pilgrims left the Baltal base camp earlier this morning for the cave shrine.
Officials in Srinagar said that a batch of 7,000 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu city under tight security arrangements on Tuesday morning.
They said that the 13th batch comprising 7,107 pilgrims left in 265 vehicles in two separate convoys for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in the Kashmir Valley. They added while 1,949 devotees left in 98 vehicles for Baltal around 3.40 am, 5,158 pilgrims left in 175 vehicles for the Nunwan-Pahalgam base camp around 4.30 am.
A total of 76,662 Amarnath pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley so far since the start of the pilgrimage on June 29, when the JK Lieutenant Governor flagged off the first batch.
The 43-day-long pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 30 from the twin tracks – the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
The pilgrimage is scheduled to conclude on August 11 on the occasion of ‘Shravan Purnima’ coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
Pertinently, the critically injured were airlifted to Srinagar. They have been taken to the hospital for further treatment in an Airforce Mi-17 helicopter from the cave site.
An additional 34 injured pilgrims were evacuated by IAF Mi-17 V5 and Cheetal helicopters this morning. IAF helicopters also airlifted 20 NDRF personnel along with six canines to search for missing persons stuck under the debris.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha visited a base camp in Pahalgam and met the pilgrims. Sinha also visited SKIMS Srinagar to enquire about the health of the pilgrims admitted there for treatment.
“The security personnel and administration have carried out an efficient rescue operation. We pay condolences to those who lost their lives. Efforts are underway to resume the Yatra along with repairing the path. Pilgrims should come, we will provide them with all facilities,” Sinha had said.
The LG had earlier chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing rescue and relief operations near the cave. A two-minutes silence was tributed to devotees who lost their lives in the incident.
According to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, around 35 pilgrims have been discharged following treatment and 17 are likely to get discharged soon.
As per officials from CRPF, around 40 people were reported missing out of which some were rescued. Also, two people were found buried alive under the debris and were later rescued.