KASHMIR-AMARNATH 2 LAST

Despite the law and order problem, the number of pilgrims Despite the law and order problem, the number of pilgrimscrossed the two lakh mark on July 24. But the arrivalsdeclined after that, with over 20,000 pilgrims payingobeisance in the last 25 days. Early melting of the ice-shivlingam was one of the reasons for the decline in thenumber, the officials said. A record 6.36 lakh pilgrims participated in the yatra in2011 and 6.22 lakh the next year. The subsequent years saw a decline in the footfall. In2013, 3.53 lakh; in 2014, 3.72 lakh and in 2015, 3.52 lakhpilgrims participated. In 2008, when Jammu and Kashmir witnessed protests in thewake of the Amarnath land row, a total of 5.33 lakh pilgrimsjoined the yatra, followed by 3.81 lakh in 2009 and 4.55lakh in 2010, when the Valley faced violent agitation overalleged human rights violation. About 2.96 lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine in 2007. This year, most of the pilgrims preferred the shorterBaltal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir over thetraditional Pahalgam route, the officials said. PTI MIJ GVS SKGVS

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