12 dead, 14 injured in stampede at Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir

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Intl desk, Jan 01, 22: Twelve pilgrims have died and over a dozen others injured in a stampede at Jammu and Kashmir’s Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in India. The stampede was triggered by a massive rush of devotees, officials said today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “personally monitoring and keeping track” of the tragic situation, a minister in his office said.

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.

The incident occurred outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine on Trikuta hills.

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.”

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”.

“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.”

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.

Source: News Agencies and NDTV