- A cloudburst was reported near Amarnath cave shrine
- However, the disaster management authority denied reports that any cloudburst has taken place
- The ongoing Amarnath yatra is showing a decreasing trend in the number of pilgrims, officials said
Amarnath cloudburst: A cloudburst was earlier reported to have taken place near the Amarnath cave shrine on Wednesday afternoon.
However, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Disaster Management Authority denied reports of any cloudburst taking place in the region.
Earlier today, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai informed Rajya Sabha that 15 pilgrims died due to flash floods during the Amarnath pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir this month.
Rai told Rajya Sabha that no person has been reported missing after the deluge on July 8.
"As per the information provided by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, 15 persons lost their lives due to flash flood," he said replying to a written question.
Rai said various government agencies like the NDRF, the SDRF, Army, CAPFs and Union Territory government officials were deployed for search operations, rescue and relief of the pilgrims.
The pilgrims were immediately evacuated to safer places and camps and provided accommodation and food while the injured pilgrims were moved to nearest medical facilities, he said.
The ongoing Amarnath yatra is showing a decreasing trend in the number of pilgrims as a batch of only 1,147 of them left the base camp on Wednesday for the twin base camps of the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
While 3,862 pilgrims had left Jammu for the cave shrine located at a height of 3,880 metres on Monday, 2,189 and 1,147 devotees had embarked on the annual pilgrimage from on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
In the 26th batch of pilgrims, 1,147 people left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here on Wednesday morning in a convoy of 47 vehicles amid heavy security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the officials said.
They said 476 pilgrims headed for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 18 vehicles, followed by a second convoy of 29 vehicles carrying 671 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
The number of pilgrims has drastically fallen in the last three days mostly due to bad weather conditions, the officials said.
The annual 43-day pilgrimage commenced on the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in south Kashmir's Anantnag and the 14-km shorter Baltal route in central Kashmir's Ganderbal on June 30.