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Vikash Sharma

Five devotees from Odisha, who were on a religious trip to Amarnath, are now stranded following the cloudburst incident in Jammu and Kashmir in which 16 persons were killed.

As per initial reports, all the five devotees hail from Rayagada and had left Odisha on July 1. They had visited Vaishno Devi temple and completed their darshan at the holy Amarnath cave when the tragedy struck on Friday.

“We had darshan on the scheduled date and were distributing Prasad when it started raining. All of a sudden water started entering our tents. As stones were also rolling down, we immediately rushed out of our tents. Somehow we managed to move out to safety,” said Basant Senapati, a devotee.

According to Senapati, they were left with no food and money for almost two days. In a video message, they also appealed for help from the government. Initially, the devotees from Odisha were scheduled to get a darshan on 6th July but due to inclement weather, they were kept at a base camp and later covered around 36 km for darshan.

“The cloudburst incident occurred when we were packing our belongings. We feel lucky to have survived the tragedy,” Senapati added.

As per the latest report, all the stranded devotees have started their journey towards Jammu with the assistance of security personnel. All of them are returning to base camp with other devotees in around 70 to 80 vehicles.

It is pertinent to mention here that several people are still missing and rescue operations are still on. The injured yatris (pilgrims) have been airlifted from the shrine - the Holy Cave - to the Baltal base camp hospital.

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