Cloudburst Leaves 15 Dead, 45 Missing; Amarnath Yatra Suspended

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The natural calamity occurred at 5:30 pm on Friday when according to reports, 10 to 15 thousand pilgrims were present near the cave. Three women are also among those who died in this incident, said a report.

Team Clarion


NEW DELHI –
At least 15 people died and 45 others are missing after a cloudburst struck near the Amarnath cave in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday forcing the authorities to suspend the Amarnath Yatra for now.


According to reports, six people were airlifted by the Army on Saturday morning in a rescue operation. Meanwhile, the mountain rescue team has started searching for the missing people.


While the pilgrims continue to leave their base camps, the journey beyond Baltal and Pahalgam has been stopped.  PTI reported that a decision on resumption of the yatra would be taken after the rescue operation is over.


The natural calamity occurred at 5:30 pm on Friday when according to reports, 10 to 15 thousand pilgrims were present near the cave. Three women are also among those who died in this incident, said a report.


ITBP said that 15,000 people have been safely removed to Panchtarni from near the holy cave.


Due to the cloudburst, about 25 tents and two to three langars set up for the devotees were washed away. Visuals of the situation that have surfaced on social media show water gushing down towards tents and washing them away in seconds.


Due to the rain, the entire area was rapidly flooded and many people were affected by it. Several pilgrims are missing and they are feared to have been swept away by the strong currents, said reports citing authorities handling the situation.


The Indian Army’s Northern Command said six rescue teams, including helicopters, had been deployed to evacuate the pilgrims. Teams from the NDRF, ITBP and the J&K police too were helping the rescue efforts, said a report in the Telegraph.


This is the first time Amarnath Yatra is taking place since 2019 when the Indian government cut short the pilgrimage midway and enforced a clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir as it took away the special status granted under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. For the next two seasons, the Yatra could not be held due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

BSF MI 17 chopper pressed to transport injured Amarnath pilgrims. — IANS

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