Vaishno Devi stampede | National

12 dead in Vaishno Devi temple stampede

The Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu's Reasi district witnessed heavy rush of devotees on the occasion of the New Year on Saturday.

Twelve devotees were killed and 15 injured in an early-morning stampede at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra in Reasi district in Jammu on Saturday.

The incident took place around 2.45 a.m., when a large number of devotees was queuing up for darshan inside the cave shrine on the Trikuta hills on the New Year.

Bodies of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine stampede victims being taken to a Community Health Centre at Katra, in Reasi district, Saturday morning, January 1, 2022.

Bodies of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine stampede victims being taken to a Community Health Centre at Katra, in Reasi district, Saturday morning, January 1, 2022.

“Preliminary reports suggest that an argument broke out [among devotees] which resulted in people pushing each other, followed by a stampede,” Jammu & Kashmir Director-General of Police Dilbagh Singh said. Seven of the deceased were from Uttar Pradesh, three from Delhi, one from Haryana and one from J&K, officials said.

The injured were shifted to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Specialty Hospital. “Four were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit,” J.P. Singh, a senior doctor at the hospital, said.

Also read: List of major stampedes at temples, other religious gatherings in India

J&K Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha announced an ex gratia of ₹10 lakh to the families of the deceased and ₹2 lakh to those injured.

Mr. Sinha ordered an inquiry into the incident. The inquiry will be headed by J&K Principal Secretary- Home.

Meanwhile, scores of pilgrims and political activists held protests at Katra and accused the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board of “mismanagement” and “poor deployment of policemen to regulate pilgrims”. Activists raised slogans against the Shrine Board.

“The Shrine Board allowed more pilgrims than the allotted numbers. If ten persons were to be permitted, around 100 were allowed. This was bound to happen. Moreover, the police resorted to lathi charge,” Ashwani Sharma, who is with the Shiv Sena in Katra, said.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), visited the shrine to take stock of the situation. “We are exploring the possible use of technology to avoid such incidents in the future,” Mr. Singh said.

J&K’s regional parties extended condolences to the grieving families.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Amit Shah and Mr. Sinha also expressed their condolences.

“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan,” the PM, who was in touch with the J&K administration and was monitoring the situation, said in a tweet. The PMO also announced an amount of ₹2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

“The tragedy due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Bhawan is heart-wrenching. Anguished by the loss of lives due to it. My condolences to the bereaved families in this sad hour. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet.


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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 11:35:00 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/12-dead-20-injured-in-stampede-at-vaishno-devi-shrine-in-jk/article38085142.ece