Two more Amarnath pilgrims die, toll rises to 85



Srinagar: Two more pilgrims died on Tuesday en route to the 3,880-metre high Amarnath cave shrine where the pilgrim footfall touched the five lakh mark since the commencement of the pilgrimage last month, officials said.

The two pilgrims - Ashok Keema (25) of Jammu and Patheera Lal (62) of Gujarat - died of cardiac arrest at Panjtarni and Poshpathri en route to the shrine, the officials said.

With this, the death toll in the ongoing pilgrimage has risen to 85, which includes 82 pilgrims, two porters and an Army jawan. Most of the deaths were caused by cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, an SASB official said that over five lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine since the commencement of the pilgrimage.

"As many as 5,00,586 yatris have visited the 3,880-metre high cave shrine housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam since the commencement of the yatra on June 25," an official of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board said.

He said the number of pilgrims having 'darshan' at the cave shrine crossed the five lakh mark last evening.

A record number of 6.35 lakh pilgrims offered prayers at the cave shrine last year, while the previous record for the highest number of pilgrims in one year was set in 2005 when 5.31 lakh yatris visited the shrine.

The yatra is scheduled to end on August 2, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival.

PTI