Supreme Court sets up panel on Amarnath deaths
Committee Asked To Submit Report By August 13
New Delhi, July 20: The Supreme Court Friday set up a high-powered committee headed by the Jammu and Kashmir governor to study the reasons for growing number of pilgrims’ deaths during the annual Amarnath Yatra.
Among others, the committee will have secretaries of the home ministry and ministry of environment and forest and the director generals of Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Roads Organization (BRO).
The Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary will be the nodal officer of the panel and the Governor its chairman as he heads the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).
Taking suo motu cognizance of reports regarding deaths of pilgrims, judges BS Chauhan and Swatantra Kumar said the panel would visit the shrine to have a first hand account of the situation.
The panel was told to summit a preliminary report before August 13.
It directed the committee to visit the shrine and give the report to Jammu and Kashmir governor who is also the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), responsible for holding the annual Amarnath pilgrimage.
The court observed that it was a delicate matter and blamed lack of facilities for the growing number of deaths of devotees.
The court noticed that the approach path leading to the shrine, located at 11,000 feet, was very narrow, on which pilgrims moved either on foot, horses or ‘Palkis’.
“Due to the lack of space, pilgrims skid and fall thousands of feet below and die,” said Justice Kumar.
Pertinent to mention that most of the deaths of the Yatris, according to medical experts, occur due to pulmonary oedema, an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body that produces swelling and cardiac arrests, or hypothermia, a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions and leads to shivering and mental confusion.
The court said the committee members could nominate their representatives but they should not be below the rank of additional secretary.
The panel has been told to suggest ways to ease problems faced by Amarnath pilgrims.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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