Twelve pilgrims have died and over a dozen injured in a stampede at Jammu and Kashmir's Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
The stampede was triggered by a "minor altercation among some young boys" amid a massive rush of devotees on New Year, 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. Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the stampede.
"Preliminary information from the scene suggests that a minor altercation among some young boys led to the stampede at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in which 12 people unfortunately died," Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said.
"Police and officials from the civil administration were quick to respond, and the order within the crowd was immediately restored, but by that time, the damage had been done," he told Press Trust of India.
He further said that all those injured have been taken to hospitals, where the 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.
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.
An ex-gratia of ₹ 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. The injured would be given ₹ 50,000: PM @narendramodi
"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.
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.
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.
BDST: 1328 HRS, JAN 01, 2022