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12 dead, 14 injured in stampede at Vaishno Devi shrine in J&K

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Jammu and Kashmir: At least 12 people were killed and 14 others injured in a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Katra early on Saturday. The stampede was triggered by a heavy rush of devotees on the first day of the new year, according to the report. The yatra (pilgrimage) to the holy shrine has been suspended after the incident.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “personally monitoring and keeping track” of the tragic situation, a minister in his office said.

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Mukesh Singh, the Additional Director General of Police or ADGP, confirmed that 12 pilgrims have died and at least 14 are injured in the stampede. “All the injured have been taken to a hospital,” he added.

“12 dead, 14 injured in the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan in Katra. The incident occurred around 2:45 am, and as per initial reports, an argument broke out which resulted in people pushing each other, followed by stampede,” Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbagh Singh told news agency.

The incident occurred outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine on Trikuta hills. Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the stampede.

The stampede broke out when a huge crowd of devotees, who had come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year, entered the Vaishno Devi Bhawan, officials said, adding that “large groups of devotees reportedly entered the Bhawan without permission slips.”

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The police said that rescue operations started immediately and all the injured have been taken to hospitals, where condition of some is stated to be “serious”.

The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir shared the helpline numbers of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sending his “condolences to the bereaved families.”

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The Prime Minister’s Office also announced an amount of ₹ 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The PMO said that the amount would be given to the families of those who lost their lives due to the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. The injured would be given ₹ 50,000, the PM’s Office added.

“Deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured,” the Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha said in a tweet from his official account.

He said that he spoke with the Prime Minister and “briefed him about the incident.” He further announced that an amount of Rs10 lakh each would be given to the families of those who lost their lives in the stampede and ₹ 2 lakh to those injured.

He also stated that the shrine board will bear the cost of treatment.

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Union Minister Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office said that PM Narendra Modi is “personally monitoring and keeping track of the tragic situation arising out of stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.”

He further stated that PM Modi has “conveyed his sympathies to bereaved families and issued instructions to provide all possible medical aid & assistance to the injured.Senior officials and representatives from the shrine board are at the spot.

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