Jawans of the Army, CRPF, J&K State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), ITBP, SSB and Mountain Rescue Teams are risking their own lives while rescuing pilgrims falling sick during the mountainous trek to the Amarnath shrine in Kashmir.
Reports of men of these teams rescuing several men and women suffering breathlessness while climbing the steep slopes have been received. Many pilgrims from the plains suffer breathlessness while climbing the trek at about 14,500 ft on both routes, Pahalgam and Baltal. It is where the role of these jawans begins.
Soldiers of these organisations can be seen carrying on their back or on stretchers the pilgrims falling sick while negotiating the steep treks. They also carry oxygen and emergency kit to provide emergency medical care on the spot before carrying the patients to the makeshift health centres dotting the two routes.
Nagendra Singh Jamwal, Director of the Baltal base camp, said that several incidents of men of these forces rescuing patients falling sick have been reported during the past 20 days. The 45-days long pilgrimage began on 1 July.
Video of a jawan of the ITBP last week went viral in which he was seen rescuing pilgrims out of gushing waters on the mountain route. This is for the first time that specially trained mountain rescue teams have been deployed on the two routes.
More than 2.60 lakh pilgrims have so far paid obeisance at the Holy Cave.
Although health certificate of pilgrims has been made mandatory before undertaking the mountain trek many of those coming from the plains suffer breathlessness at the heights. About 12 pilgrims have so far died because of natural causes.
The Mahagunus Pass on the Pahalgam route and the Sangam on the Baltal trek were the most strenuous points where at times the temperature dips below freezing point.
A picture of a Ladakhi jawan, Tashi Phunstog, of the 1st Battalion of SDRF rescuing a women pilgrim on his back on the Baltal route went viral on Sunday.
Jamwal said that many more instances of such rescues are pouring in.
Meanwhile, Ravideep Singh Sahi, Inspector General, CRPF and Rajesh Kumar, Inspector General (Operations) CRPF, met Governor Satya Pal Malik and briefed the Governor about their respective areas of responsibility.
The Governor appreciated the CRPF personnel for their role in the smooth conduct of the annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra.