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Amarnath: ITBP says 15,000 stranded pilgrims evacuated

English NewsAmarnath: ITBP says 15,000 stranded pilgrims evacuated

At least 15,000 pilgrims, who were stranded near the Amarnath holy cave in Jammu and Kashmir due to a flash flood triggered by a cloudburst, have been shifted to the lower base camp of Panjtarni, an ITBP spokesperson said on Saturday.

The border guarding force has also expanded its route opening and protection parties from lower part of the holy cave up to Panjtarni, he said.

The flash flood near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir swept away scores of people, killing at least 13 and swamping tents and community kitchens on Friday evening.

The yatra that began on June 30 has been suspended following the tragedy and a decision on its resumption will be taken after rescue operations get over, a senior administration official had said.

“Most of the yatris, who were stranded near holy cave area due to the flash flood that occurred last evening, have been shifted to Panjtarni. The evacuation continued till 3.38 am.

“No yatri is left on the track. About 15,000 people have been safely shifted till now,” the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) spokesperson said.

A Border Security Force (BSF) spokesperson said doctors and medical staff of the paramilitary force treated nine patients who were critically injured in the floods.

“They have been rescued to lower altitude Neelgrath base camp,” he said.

A small BSF team is also deployed at the Neelgrath helipad to assist the pilgrims coming from the holy cave.

About 150 yatris stayed at the BSF camp created in Panjtarni on Friday night and 15 patients have been airlifted to Baltal on Saturday morning, he said.

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