Amarnath yatra suspended, thousands stranded enroute

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Srinagar, Jun 20 (UNI) About ten thousand Amarnath pilgrims are stranded at different places after authorities suspended the yatra this morning following heavy rains.

Official sources said about a dozen pilgrims were injured at Sheshnag and other places enroute to holy cave after they fell down due to slippery track.

However, the Director Public Relations SASB Madan Mantoo was not available to comment.

Official sources said all pilgrims, who had reached Nunwan base camp till last evening were not allowed to proceed towards the cave shrine this morning following heavy rains on the track.

There are about six thousand pilgrims in the camp, the sources said adding that they will be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage only when the weather improves.

They said about four thousand pilgrims are also stranded at different station enroute to cave shrine.

A yatri from Delhi Madan Lal told UNI over phone from a hotel at Pahalgam that a large number of pilgrims returned back there (Pahalgam) from different halting stations as there were very heavy rains, resulting in severe cold.

Mr Lal said about a dozen yatris also suffered injuries after they slipped down due to slippery track.

A hotel owner Bashir Ahmad said all the hotels in Pahalgam are fully occupied by the pilgrims.

He said the pilgrims who were staying in tents on the bank of river Lidder also shifted to hotels because of heavy rains and strong winds last night.

Sources said the pilgrims who have performed puja are also stranded at different places on their way back to Baltal and Pahalgam camps.

Yatra was also suspended through Baltal, they said adding the 16-km-long track has become slippery and it was risky to allow any yatri to proceed towards the shrine.

About 30,000 pilgrims have had the darshan of the self made ice Shivlingam since the yatra started from June 18.

So far four yatris had also died due to heart failure.

UNI BAS MYK RJ BD1305

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