Stampede at Vaishno Devi kills 12, injures 20; PM, Lt Governor declare aid

The incident occurred near gate no. 3 outside the shrine, triggered by a heavy rush of devotees who had come mark the beginning of the New Year

Devotees at the Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, Jammu, on the last day of 2021. Pic: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the stampede at Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu on early Saturday (January 1) morning.

The injured will get Rs 50,000 per person, tweeted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The stampede killed 12 devotees and left 20 others injured. Lt Governor Manoj Sinha announced an ex gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 2 lakh to each injured. Sinha said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

According to officials, the stampede that occurred in the early hours of Saturday near gate number three outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine atop Trikuta hills was triggered by a heavy rush of devotees who have come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year.

In a series of tweets, the office of the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor said, “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.”

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“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. The Inquiry Committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members,” he said.

“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,” Sinha said.
“Ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each would be given 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,” tweeted Sinha, who is also chairperson of the board.

(With inputs from agencies)

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