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Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Hindu pilgrimage starts in Kashmir

The first batch of Hindu worshippers has begun the annual pilgrimage to a Hindu shrine in Indian-administered Kashmir that has been attacked by separatist militants in recent years.

More than 2,600 pilgrims set off from the base camp at Pahalgam on the arduous, 46-kilometre trek into the Himalayas to the Amarnath cave shrine.

Hundreds of Indian troops have been deployed on the route to prevent a repetition of the guerrilla attacks which killed ten people last year, and more than 30 people two years ago. Some 100,000 people are expected to make the journey during the month-long pilgrimage period.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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