SRINAGAR: The 40-day long Amarnath yatra concluded Monday with the casualty count reading 54 this year, including eight in the terror attack on a pilgrim vehicle on July 10.
Seventeen pilgrims died when their vehicle met with an accident near Ramban on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway on July 16 and three others in different accidents. Twnty-six pilgrims and service providers died of medical causes.
A total of 2.60 lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine at a height of 3,880 m in south Kashmir this year, according to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Umang Narula.
The yatra concludes on Raksha Bandhan day or Shrvan Purnima each year with a morning puja.
The yatra commenced from two routes -- the traditional Pahalgam route in Anantnag district and the shorter Batal route in Ganderbal district -- on June 29. Governor N N Vohra, who is also chairman of SASB, stressed the need to identify measures to prevent the loss of lives in future yatras.
Vohra directed the CEO to ensure that arrangements are made to clean up after the last of the pilgrims leaves.
Security measures at this year’s yatra were tight, with 30,000 personnel drawn from the CRPF, police, Army, SSB and ITBP.