As many as 53 pilgrims have been killed in 36 terror attacks on the annual Amarnath yatra in the last 27 years, the Lok Sabha was informed today. “From 1990 till date, 36 terrorist attacks have been reported on Amarnath yatris in which 53 were killed and 167 were injured,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said in reply to a written question. Ahir said all possible arrangements are being made by the Jammu and Kashmir government with the help of the Centre to strengthen the pilgrimage’s security.
In the latest terror attack that took place on July 10, seven pilgrims were killed in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. One injured pilgrim succumbed to her injuries later. Replying to another question, he said the duration and schedule of the pilgrimage is based on the decision taken by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board every year. The duration of the yatra is decided by the extent of snowfall in the preceding winter and the date on which Raksha Bandhan falls, when it is traditionally concluded, he said.
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Therefore, the minister said, the duration of the pilgrimage varies from year to year. In 2017, the pilgrimage commenced on June 29 and will culminate on Raksha Bandhan which falls on August 7. “As such, the 2017 yatra is of 40 days. In 2016, it commenced on July 2 and concluded on August 18, and therefore, it was of 48 days,” he said.