Srinagar, Jan 1 (GNS): At least twelve pilgrims died and fifteen others were injured in a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi district, officials said on Saturday.
Reports reaching GNS said that the stampede was triggered following a minor altercation amid a massive rush of devotees. They said a huge number of devotees, who had come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year, entered the Vaishno Devi Bhawan “without permission slips”, leading to the stampede.
A police officer told GNS that 12 pilgrims have died while 15 others were injured.
He said police launched an immediate rescue operations and all the injured have been taken to hospitals, where condition of some is stated to be “critical”.
While officials said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “personally monitoring and keeping track” of the situation, J&K government has ordered a high-level inquiry.
“Spoke to Hon’ble Home Minister Shri Amit Shah Ji. Briefed him about the incident. A high level inquiry has been ordered into today’s stampede,” Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said in a tweet.
The Inquiry Committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members, he added.
Sinha said he was deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede. “My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured,” he said and announced ex-gratia of Rs.10 lakh each to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to stampede and Rs.2 lakh to injured. “Shrine board to bear the cost of treatment of injured,” he added.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said that he was extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan.
“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to JK LG Shri @manojsinha_ Ji, Ministers Shri @DrJitendraSingh Ji, @nityanandraibjp Ji and took stock of the situation.”
Prime Minister’s Office also announced an amount of Rs 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.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference Vice president Omar Abdullah said that he was deeply saddened by the news from Matavaishnodevi. “My condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the stampede & prayers for the quick & complete recovery of all those injured,” Omar added.
Former Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet said: “I am also saddened by the tragic accident at Vaishno Devi & neither the administration the nor police are carrying out their duties. Instead they are engrossed in threatening people into silence. My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.”
J&K Peoples Conference chairman and formed minister on BJP quota in erstwhile J&K government, Sajjad Gani Lone also offered condolences.
“Extremely bad news coming in from Vaishno Devi. About 12 people killed in stampeded. My humble thoughts and prayers with the families of those who lost their lives,” he tweeted. (GNS)