Stampede kills 12 at India shrine

  |  Saturday, January 1st, 2022 |  4:24 pm

Twelve pilgrims have died and at least 14 others injured in a stampede at Jammu and Kashmir’s Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on Saturday.

The incident happened when a huge crowd of devotees, who had come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year, assembled at the Vaishno Devi Bhawan, according to NDTV reports.

The temple is an important Hindu pilgrimage site, one of the 108 destinations dedicated to Durga, who is worshipped as Vaishno Devi.

It is one of the most visited pilgrimage centres in India, attracting close to a million devotees a year, according to the Hindustan Times.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “personally monitoring and keeping track” of the tragic situation, a minister told NDTV.

Mukesh Singh, the additional director general of police, said that the injured have been taken to a hospital.

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

Officials said that large groups of devotees reportedly entered the Bhawan without permission slips.

The police told NDTV that rescue operations started immediately and all the injured have been taken to hospitals. The condition of some is stated to be ‘serious’.