At least 16 pilgrims were killed in floods triggered by a cloudburst near the Amarnath cave in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday evening. Earlier in August 1996, a cloudburst near the Amarnath cave had led to the loss of about 250 pilgrims. In 2015, a cloudburst near the Baltal base camp killed three pilgrims, including two children.
Every year lakhs of devotees reach here to have darshan of Baba Barfani located in the cave. On Friday, several tents were washed away in the inundation due to cloudburst near the Amarnath cave. So far 35 people have died in this accident and around 50 have been injured. 48 people are said to be missing. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are engaged in the rescue. NDRF and ITBP personnel are engaged in the rescue operation.
The Meteorological Department had predicted bad weather in Amarnath a few days ago. PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have expressed grief over this incident. The PM and Shah have spoken to the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha. PM Modi has expressed deep condolences to the families of those killed in the cloudburst incident after the Amarnath cave. In a tweet, he said that the relief work is going on. He also took stock of the situation by talking to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
This is not the first time that the Amarnath Yatra has been hit by a natural disaster. The first major accident happened during the Amarnath Yatra in the year 1969. In the month of July 1969 also, there was an incident of cloudburst on the Amarnath Yatra route. Then about a hundred devotees lost their lives in this accident. This incident is also considered to be the first major event in the history of Amarnath Yatra.
On 16 July 2017, a bus carrying pilgrims going to Amarnath had fallen into a deep gorge near Ramban district. More than 19 devotees were also injured in this accident on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. All the passengers aboard the bus that fell victim to the accident were going to see Baba Barfani.
During the Amarnath Yatra, on July 12, 2018, the vehicle of pilgrims going to Amarnath collided with a truck parked on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, injuring 13 pilgrims. In 2019, during the Amarnath Yatra between July 1 and 26, about 30 pilgrims had also died, about which it was said by the Shrine Board that the reason for this was lack of awareness.