Srinagar: Fifteen People were killed and 40 are reported missing after a cloudburst near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in Central kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Friday evening, officials said here.
According to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officials, the cloud burst occurred at the lower holy cave (Amarnath) at around 5.30 p.m and the rescue teams were rushed to the spot.
“Thirteen casualties have been reported so far and three people were rescued alive while 40 are feared missing, one NDRF team is always deployed near the holy cave, it immediately engaged in the rescue work,” he said.
A sudden wave of water from above and sides of the cave, after heavy rain in the upper reaches, washed away three langars. Several tents have also been damaged. At least 4-6 people generally stay in a tent, said the official.
As per local police officials, the Yatra has been temporarily suspended. The Amarnath Yatra had kicked off on June 30th after a gap of 2 years due to the Covid pandemic.
Prime minister Narendra Modi said that he is anguished by the cloud burst near Shree Amarnath cave.” Condolences to the bereaved families. Spoke to @manojsinha_ Ji and took stock of the situation. Rescue and relief operations are underway. All possible assistance is being provided to the affected,” he said in a tweet.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he is in constant touch with the lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha. “NDRF, CRPF, BSF and local administration are engaged in the rescue work. Saving people’s lives is our priority. I wish all the devotees well,” Shah tweeted.
“I am distressed to learn that a cloudburst near Amarnath shrine has claimed several lives. My condolences to the bereaved families. Relief and rescue measures are in full swing to provide succour to those stranded. I pray and hope that the yatra be soon resumed,” said President of india in a tweet.
“Spoke to Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM and briefed about the incident. Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM has assured all the help. Our priority is to save the lives of people. Instructions have been issued to provide all necessary assistance to pilgrims. I am closely monitoring the situation,” the ammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha informed.
“Disturbed to receive the news of unfortunate cloud burst over the lower holy cave of Shri #Amarnath. I am in constant touch with the UT administration. The SDRF and NDRF teams have promptly swung into action to provide all possible relief and assistance,” said Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh
Meanwhile, as soon as the news of cloudburst near Amarnath cave came in, netizens and political leaders took to social media to express sorrow and prayed for the well-being of the pilgrims.
The annual 43-day Amarnath yatra commenced from the twin base camps — Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal — on June 30. So far, over one lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine. The yatra is set to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.(KNS).