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Amidst Kashmir turmoil, Amarnath Yatra suspended again; 10 pilgrims dead

The Amarnath Yatra was suspended yet again on Wednesday due to fresh unrest reported from Anantnag, reported DNA.

According to Business Standard, a fresh batch of pilgrims was allowed to leave from Bhagwati Nagar Yatra base camp.

The yatra had just resumed on 12  July under  a heavy security blanket, reported The Indian Express

IANS reported that the ongoing curfew in most places of the Valley continued on Thursday as the separatists decided to extend the protest shutdown for another two days.

Curfew has been imposed in the Valley since 9 July to control large-scale violence following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last week, the report said.

One protester identified as Hilal Ahmad Shah was killed in Anantnag district's Harnag area on Wednesday when an unruly mob surrounded an army vehicle and tried to torch it.

The death toll in the six-day long spate of violence has increased to 37.

On Wednesday, the death toll in the on-going Amarnath Yatra spiked to 10 after a bus carrying pilgrims collided with a truck at Sangam near Bijbehara, 45 kms from Srinagar, reported The Economic Times.

Twenty-three pilgrims also received injuries in the accident. The bus was on the way to Jammu from Baltal base camp in Ganderbal district.

But, in a small bit of positive news, local Muslims defied curfew restrictions on Wednesday and risked their lives to rescue the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims injured in a road accident on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway-1A and carried them to hospitals, said an IANS report.

Representational Image. PTI

Representational Image. PTI

The driver of the mini-bus carrying the pilgrims died of injuries after the vehicle met an accident near Bijbehara town in Anantnag district.

Locals in Bijbehara town, who were mourning two deaths due to recent violence in the Kashmir Valley, ignored their personal grief and the curfew to rush to the accident spot and rescue the injured pilgrims.

On 11 July, hundreds of Amarnath pilgrims were stranded as Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained out of bounds, as per a PTI report.

Many of the pilgrims, who performed the yatra through Baltal route in Sonamarg area of central Kashmir's Ganderbal district, were stranded near the Tourist Reception Centre in the city.

The pilgrims left the Baltal base camp at around 1 am and reached Srinagar in the wee hours.

"We performed the yatra on 8 July. Around midnight tonight, we were told to leave the base camp. They told us to leave for Srinagar where buses were waiting for us to take us to Jammu," Pramod Kumar, a resident of Bihar, said.

The pilgrims also complained of inadequate arrangements and accused cab drivers of charging exorbitant rates.

However, deputy commissioner, Ganderbal, Tariq Hussain Ganai told PTI that the administration had made proper arrangements for about 24,500 pilgrims to leave Baltal for Jammu.

"We arranged 1,700 vehicles for about 24,500 yatris to leave for Jammu. The vehicles left Baltal straight for Jammu and not for Srinagar. Those yatris are on their way to Jammu right now," Ganai said.

"We reached here at around 3 am and since then we are waiting. There are no buses. How do we move to Jammu?" he asked.

Another pilgrim, Bansi Lal, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, said, "We have not been told anything after we reached Srinagar. There is no information available. We want to leave for Jammu but do not know how."

He said pilgrims stranded in Srinagar must have been "tricked" by cab drivers at Baltal.

"What I can understand is that they must have been tricked by the cab drivers there. We cleared the last three days' yatra last night and sent the pilgrims directly to Jammu. Some left the state by air as well. We never told anyone that buses will be waiting in Srinagar," the deputy commissioner said.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 14, 2016 14:03 PM

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