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3 more deaths take Amarnath Yatra toll to 9


Srinagar, Jul 6: The death toll in the ongoing Amarnath pilgrimage went up to nine on Thursday with three more pilgrims dying of various reasons, police said.

Amarnath yatra

Banki Lal (59), hailing from Uttar Pradesh, died at the Baltal base camp in central Kashmir, a police official said. He said Lal fell ill yesterday morning and was admitted to the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Soura here. Lal was later discharged from the hospital and brought back to Baltal by his companions, the official said.

However, at about 10:30 last night, Lal again complained of ill health and was brought to the Baltal Base Hospital, where he died.

Susheel Kumar Baige (22), a resident of Madhya Pradesh, fell unconscious at the holy cave today, the official said. He said Baige was brought to a nearby medical camp where doctors declared him brought dead. Another Amarnath pilgrim, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, was killed when a cooking gas cylinder exploded in his bus in South Kashmir's Kulgam district today.

With these three deaths, the toll in the ongoing yatra has gone up to nine -- eight pilgrims and an assistant-sub inspector of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The ITBP officer died at Brarimarg on June 28. The 40-day yatra is scheduled to end on August 7, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan. The yatra has been going on smoothly from the two routes -- the traditional Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and Baltal. On the eighth day of the yatra today, 15,335 yatris paid obeisance at the cave shrine.

Since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 29, as many as 1,05,380 yatris have paid obeisance at the naturally-formed Ice Shiva Lingam inside the cave shrine.


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