5 yatris, trooper die; toll rises to 13

Srinagar: Five Amarnath yatris and a CRPF jawan died of natural causes, taking the death toll during the ongoing yatra to 13 even as the footfall of devotees at the 3,880-metre high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas on Wednesday crossed the two-lakh mark.

CRPF trooper Sunil Kumar Yadav (33), a resident of UP, died of cardiac arrest at the lower cave this afternoon while he was on official duty, officials said.

They said Rameshvarji (65) of Madhya Pradesh and Nandi Singh (45) of Maharashtra died along the shorter 16-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir, while another pilgrim, Sanjay Nodia (46) of Pune breathed his last along the 45-km Pahalgam route in Anantnag district of south Kashmir yesterday.

Quoting delayed information, the officials said two more pilgrims died a day earlier near the cave.

With these, the death toll in the ongoing yatra has gone up to 13.

They said the 59-day yatra, which began on July 2, was going on smoothly from both the routes and so far over two lakh pilgrims have paid their obeisance at the cave shrine housing the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam. (PTI)