Amarnath Yatra: 6 pilgrims, 1 Ponywalla die in last 36 hours; death toll climbs to 49

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Over 5,800 pilgrims leave Jammu camp for pilgrimage

STATE TIMES NEWS

Srinagar: Six pilgrims and one pony driver died of natural causes during the Amarnath Yatra in the last 36 hours, taking the overall death toll in the ongoing pilgrimage to 49, officials said on Saturday.
The death toll includes 15 yatris who lost their life in the July 8 flash flood.
So far, 47 yatris and two pony drivers have lost their life during the pilgrimage which started on June 30.
One pony driver had died after he fell from his horse into a deep gorge in Pahalgam.
In the July 8 flash flood near the cave shrine, 15 yatris had lost their life while about 55 persons were injured.
Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims have so far visited the cave shrine.
Meanwhile, amid tight security, the 17th batch of over 5,800 Amarnath pilgrims left Jammu city this morning for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir, officials said.
The annual pilgrimage, which was suspended from Jammu last Sunday due to bad weather resumed on Monday. A flash flood triggered by heavy rains near the cave shrine on Friday last week led to the death of at least 15 people.
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.
A total of 5,838 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here in a convoy of 223 vehicles amid heavy CRPF security, the officials said.
They said that 2,547 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 97 vehicles around 3.20 am followed by the second convoy of 126 vehicles carrying 3,291 pilgrims for Pahalgam at 4.20 am.
With this, a total of 99,825 pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
So far, over 1.65 lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine, the officials said.
The pilgrimage is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. A total of 25 people mostly pilgrims have died during the Amarnath yatra till now excluding 15, who died in the flash floods at the cave shrine.