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Flash floods kill Hindu pilgrims in Indian Kashmir

At least 16 people were killed after a cloudburst triggered flash floods near the Himalayan Hindu cave shrine of Amarnath in Indian Kashmir, the director-general of the National Disaster Response Force said on Saturday.

During the annual pilgrimage, tens of thousands of Hindus across glaciers and waterlogged trails to reach the cave which contains an ice stalagmite considered to be a physical manifestation of the god Shiva.

The cave is covered in snow for most of the year, but authorities let pilgrims visit for 45 days over the summer as rising temperatures clear the passes.

This year’s pilgrimage takes place after a gap of two years due to COVID. The authorities are expecting a record 800,000 Hindu pilgrims at the shrine, after more than 60,000 arrivals so far in the first 10 days.

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