Srinagar, July 15: Five Amarnath Yatris died in the past 36 hours, taking the toll of devotees dying during this year’s annual pilgrimage to 24.
Officials said most of these deaths occurred due to high altitude sickness resulting in lack of oxygen followed by cardiac arrest.
“Of the five deaths, four occurred on the Pahalgam route while one was reported on the Baltal route. The victims included an ITBP officer who died during Yatra duty. The victims hailed from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat,” the officials added.
Experts have said that places situated at high altitudes have rarified air with lesser concentration of oxygen. This coupled with exhaustion and unhealthy lungs often results in fatalities.
The Amarnath cave shrine is situated 3,888 metres above the sea-level.
For these reasons, authorities have banned all junk food at the free kitchens (Langars) set up for the Yatris.
All halwai items, including parathas, puris, sweets and cold drinks, have been banned.
Sale of cigarettes has also been banned inside and around the base and transit camps of the Yatra.
This year’s 62-day long Yatra which commenced on July 1, will end on August 31 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.