Stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi temple on New Year Eve: 12 passed away near Katra Shrine
Owing to a massive rush at the Mata Vaishno Devi temple on New Year Eve, there was a stampede. There are reports of deaths of at least 12 people in the rush. The incident took place at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Katra, as there was a huge rush of devotees who gathered in the area to get blessings for the start of the year.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh has shared that according to the initial information, around 2:30 AM at a gate of the shrine, an argument began among some youths while discussing an issue, and this led to the major stampede. He added that he’s immediately rushing to Katra to control the situation.
As per reports, officials said 12 people died in the stampede and they have been moved to a hospital in the Katra base camp for identification and other legal formalities. Twenty more people were injured and the majority of them are undergoing treatment at Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital. The officials added that the condition of four of the injured people was stated to be critical.
Block medical officer of the Community Health Centre said that among the 12 people, some are from Delhi, while others are from Punjab and Haryana, and one from Jammu and Kashmir. The injured ones were taken to Naraina Hospital after rescue, he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of those who lost their lives due to the stampede, and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and briefed him about the incident. “A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the stampede. The Inquiry Committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members," Sinha said.
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For the family members of the devotees, authorities released helpline numbers. People have been asked to call on Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Helpline numbers 01991-234804 and 01991-234053. Other helpline numbers are 01991232010/ 9419145182 for PCR Katra, 0199145076/ 9622856295 for PCR Reasi, and 01991245763/ 9419839557 for DC Office Reasi control room. The officials also said the shrine was open and devotees were paying respect till last reports came in.