Jammu, July 22
Amid tight security, a fresh batch of 1,350 pilgrims today left for the Amarnath cave shrine situated in South Kashmir Himalayas.
The pilgrims comprising 979 men, 212 women, 18 children and 141 sadhus left in a cavalcade of 53 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu at around 0500 hours for Amarnath.
The convoy of yatra has already crossed Chanderkote on Jammu-Srinagar National highway towards base camps of Pahalgam in Kashmir valley.
With today's batch, as many as 87,618 pilgrims have left Jammu for their onward journey to the cave shrine. Meanwhile, the third batch of 785 pilgrims has left for the holy shrine of Buddha Amarnath, situated in the border district of Poonch, from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in the
Meanwhil Nine more pilgrims, including a couple from Odisha, died en route to the 3,880-metre high holy shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas during the last 24 hours, taking the death toll in the ongoing yatra to 97. Raghunath Singh and Umesh Shah from Punjab and Lalita Daand from West Bengal died at a hospital after developing complications during the yatra, officials said today. H P Buryani (65), a resident of Madhya Pradesh, died of heart attack at Baltal. The bodies of two unidentified Sadhus were recovered from camps near the holy cave and at Panjtarni on the traditional Pahalgam route. A pilgrim couple from Orissa, identified as Lakhsmi Priya Sanapati and Kulmani Sanapati, died in an accident near Pathan Colony at Zakoora in the outskirts of the city, the officials said. Fifty-year-old Ram Babu, a resident of Maharashtra, died of cardiac arrest at Railpathri on shorter Baltal route. Concerned over the rising number of casualties and lack of basic amenities, the Supreme Court had on July 20 set up a high-powered panel to recommend measures to prevent more deaths. Jammu and Kashmir governor and the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board would chair the panel and submit its report by August 10. Officials said the yatra was going on smoothly and so far over 5.75 lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine housing the naturally formed ice 'shivlingam' since the pilgrimage commenced on June 25. A total of 5, 64,179 pilgrims had visited the cave shrine by last evening, the officials added. The yatra will conclude on August 2, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.