In a shocking news, over 60 mules used for carrying pilgrims to the Kedarnath shrine have died within 20 days of the opening of yatra. Reports say they have succumbed due to extreme exhaustion, poor diet, abdominal issues and accidental injuries, which are often left untreated.
Moreover, it is being alleged that mule operators have been dumping their carcasses into the Mandakini river, which merges with the Ganga on its path downwards.
According to veterinary experts, exertion and equine colic have been the major causes of mules’ deaths. These mules are forced to carry pilgrims over an almost 19-km long trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath. Sometimes, they are forced to complete two trips in a day, even when the rules advise against it.
Horses and mules are used by a lot of pilgrims to cover the long distance to the Kedarnath temple. At present, there are around 8,500 mules and horses on duty for Kedarnath yatra, and they often have to endure sub-zero temperatures on a poor diet and lack of care.