Jammu, July 15 (IANS) A fresh batch of over 3,300 pilgrims on Saturday left here for the Kashmir Valley to perform the annual Amarnath Yatra, an official said.
“A total of 3,398 yatris left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 3.30 a.m. in an escorted convoy of 132 vehicles,” the official added.
On the 16th day of the yatra on Friday, nearly 10,000 pilgrims paid obeisance inside the holy Himalayan cave situated at 3,888 metres above the sea-level.
Around two lakh pilgrims have performed the yatra since it began on June 29.
Despite a terror attack on a pilgrim bus in Anantnag killing seven and injuring 19 others on July 10, there has been a steady flow of devotees to the cave shrine that houses the ice stalagmite structure that devotees believe symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The state police on Friday constituted a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to probe whether or not there had been any security lapse that made the attack in Batengo on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway possible.
The terrorists were successful in pulling off the attack despite intelligence inputs and a multi-layered security cover on the pilgrimage route.
Over 35,000 security personnel drawn from the Army, Central Reserve Police Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indo Tibetan Border Police and the state police have been deployed this year to provide security to the pilgrims.
There has been widespread condemnation of the Amarnath attack across political and ideological divide in Kashmir as the entire society condemned it in one voice.
The 40-day long yatra will conclude on August 7 on ‘Shravan Purnima’ coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.