Thirteen people were dead and at least three dozen were missing after a cloudburst triggered flash floods near the Himalayan Hindu cave shrine of Amarnath in India-occupied Kashmir, an official said here on Friday. During the annual pilgrimage, tens of thousands of Hindus cross glaciers and waterlogged trails to reach the cave which contains an ice stalagmite considered to be a physical manifestation of the god Shiva.
An operation has recovered eight dead bodies after the cloudburst near the cave, said police chief Vijay Kumar, who is stationed in the disputed terri-tory.
“Some tents and community kitchens have washed away in the flash flood.” Another official who was not authorised to speak to the media, said the death toll was larger, at 13, as five more bodies had been recovered.
He said rescuers pulled out several bodies from the debris. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “anguished” and offered “con-dolences to the bereaved families.”—KMS