21st batch of Amarnath pilgrims leave Jammu
Jammu, July 21: The 21st batch of Amarnath pilgrims today left the base camp here for the holy cave shrine as traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was restored after remaining suspended for several hours following a landslide, officials said today.
After receiving a green signal from the traffic authorities, the officials said a fresh batch of 1,632 pilgrims, including 428 women and 50 sadhus, were allowed from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for Kashmir under tight security cover in the wee hours today.
While 1,011 pilgrims, including 184 women and 50 sadhus, are heading for the Nunwan base camp to undertake the yatra to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath from the traditional 36-km Pahalgam track, 621 people, including 244 women, are heading for the Baltal base camp after choosing the 12-km shorter route to the shrine, the officials said.
A massive landslide struck the Jammu-Srinagar national highway at Digdole near Ramban yesterday, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.
However, after hectic efforts by the concerned agencies, the road was cleared and thrown open for traffic last night.
All the stranded vehicles were allowed to move towards their respective destinations, the officials said, adding that normal traffic resumed from both sides this morning.
Meanwhile, two Bangladeshi nationals were briefly questioned by police after their presence near the Bhagwati Nagar base camp yesterday raised suspicion, the officials said.
Mohammad Rafiq-ul-Islam (44) and Mohammad Ashraf Ali (45) were detained by police for questioning after they were intercepted near a frisking shed along the roadside leading to the Bhagwati Nagar base camp, they said.
However, both of them were released after they were found in possession of valid documents, including passport and registration slips, for the yatra, the officials said.
Somebody had mislead them into undertaking the yatra, assuring that the devotees would help them financially, they said.
The officials said they decided not to join the yatra after they were informed about the arduous tracks.