Two more Amarnath pilgrims die, toll reaches four

Srinagar: Two more Amarnath pilgrims died of cardiac arrest taking the death toll to four during the ongoing yatra, even as the footfall of the pilgrims at the 3,880 metre high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas is likely to cross the one lakh mark by this evening.

NB Patel (65), a resident of Gujarat, died at Chandanwari along the 45-km Pahalgam cave route in Anantnag district of south Kashmir last night, officials said.

Another 70-year-old Baidev Raj Khoda, a resident of New Delhi, breathed his last at Domail along the shorter 16-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district late last night.

The officials said both the pilgrims died of cardiac arrest and their bodies were brought back to the base camps and handed over to their relatives for last rites.

With the death of the duo, a total of four pilgrims have died during the ongoing yatra which commenced from the twin tracks on July 2.

Earlier one Subash Chander (63), a resident of Chandigarh, died of cardiac arrest at Panjtarni and Rama Shanker (58) of Uttar Pradesh died had died of cardiac arrest enroute to cave.

So far nearly 95,000 pilgrims had paid their obeisance at the cave shrine and the number is expected to cross the one lakh mark later today as the yatra is going on smoothly from both the sides, the officials said.

Yesterday, as many as 19,512 yatris had offered their prayers at the cave shrine housing the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam.

The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the yatra, had released 8400 slots since yesterday for On-Spot Registration at various counters for the Yatra commencing on July 9 and 10 from the two Access Control Gates at Baltal and Chandanwari.

The slots were available on first come first serve basis, the officials said and advised the pilgrims to undertake the Yatra on the respective date of registration to avoid any inconvenience.

The intending Yatris who have not yet registered have been advised to undertake advance registration which closes eight days prior to intended date of commencement of Yatra from the two Access Control Gates at Baltal and Chandanwari, the officials said.

“Yatris have been advised not to trek alone and always travel in a group on the Yatra route to enable prompt action being taken in case of any emergency,” the SASB said.

The SASB also advised yatris to always carry their Yatra Permit and any other identity card and advised to respect the environment and do nothing to pollute it throughout the pilgrimage,” the board said. (PTI)