Amarnath yatra: Death toll reaches 10

Srinagar: An Amarnath pilgrim and a local driver were killed and 23 others injured when their bus collided with a truck on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway today, officials said.

A CRPF jawan, posted at Chandanwari, died of cardiac arrest, raising the death toll related to ongoing yatra to 10, they said.

A bus, carrying Amarnath pilgrims, collided with the truck at Sangam near Bijbehara, 45 kms from here, in the wee hours today, killing two persons-Pramod Kumar of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and driver Bilal Ahmad Mir of Kangan, Ganderbal, the officials said.

23 pilgrims also received injuries in the accident which took place when the bus was on the way to Jammu from Baltal base camp in Ganderbal district.

Soon after the accident, the people in Bijbehara, who are mourning the death of two youths, including a Delhi University student in the widespread violence following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last week, rushed to the scene despite the curfew and evacuated the injured to the hospital.

Constable Rajinder Kumar of 115th Battalion CRPF died at Chandanwari, along the traditional Pahalgam-cave route in Anantnag district of south Kashmir, last night. The CRPF jawan, who was posted on security duty, suffered a massive heart attack, the officials said.

Meanwhile, a pilgrim Mukesh Kumar of Delhi suffered injuries when he fell down from his motorcycle at Qazigund, 80 kms from here, on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the officials said, adding he was shifted to the hospital.

27 persons, including 25 yatris and a ‘ponywalla’ also suffered injuries mostly due to the fall while trekking the arduous 3,880 metre-high route to holy cave which houses the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, they said.

Despite the unrest in the Valley in the wake of the killing of the young militant commander which has claimed 34 lives in the clashes between protestors and security forces, the yatra was going on smoothly from the twin routes.

Nearly 1.40 lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine and had ‘darshan’ of the ice-lingam so far, the officials added.