11 dead in ongoing Amarnath yatra

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Jammu, July 25: Eleven persons, including 10 devotees, have died due to medical reasons during the ongoing pilgrimage to Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.

"10 Amarnath pilgrims and a helper (sevadar) have died so far during this year's yatra due to medical reasons," a police officer monitoring the yatra in Kashmir Valley said. 3.12 lakh pilgrims performed 'darshan' of the holy ice 'lingum' of Lord Shiva at Amarnath cave shrine till yesterday.

The 55-day yatra commenced on June 28 and will conclude on Raksha Bandhan on August 21. As many as 6,21,145 pilgrims undertook the Amarnath yatra last year, during which 93 people died due to medical reasons, apart from 42 others due to road accidents and other reasons.

In 2011, 106 people died due to medical reasons when a total of 6,35,611 pilgrims undertook the yatra. The deaths due to medical reasons might be fewer this year as Shri Amarnath Shrine Board banned persons below 13 years or above the age of 75, besides women who were six weeks or more pregnant, from participating in the yatra.

Nitish K Sen Gupta Committee, which was set up in 1996 to enquire into the tragedy in which 243 people were killed in the yatra area, had recommended that no person under the age of 15 years or above 65 should be encouraged to undertake the pilgrimage. Besides, the Board also did not allow yatris without compulsory Health Certificate to register for this year's yatra.

PTI

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