KISHTWAR Seven people were killed and 11 injured when their vehicles were hit by a landslide in Jammus Kishtwar district on Monday.
Police said a minibus and a car plying from Thathri to Kishtwar were caught under the landside at Kuligarh around 11 am. Most of the boulders fell on the minibus, crushing it.
Police and local residents joined forces to rescue the victims and rush them to the sub-district hospital in Thathri, where five were declared dead on arrival. The other two succumbed after being shifted to district hospitals in Kishtwar and Doda, police said.
Seven persons were killed and 11 others injured in the road mishap. While four have been referred to Jammu, the others are being treated at hospitals in Kishtwar and Doda, said Kishtwar senior superintendent of police Rajinder Gupta.
Police said most of the victims were pilgrims travelling from Udhampur to the shrine of goddess Durga (Machail Mata) at Padder in the ill-fated minibus. Only eight of the 15-member group managed to survive.
The casualties included three of a four-member family who had undertaken the pilgrimage on Monday. While Kewal Kumar, his daughter Askanta and wife Vandana Mathur died in the incident, their 10-year-old daughter Vasu has been admitted to a hospital in Doda. The accident also claimed the life of Ghulam Hassan, a resident of Drabshalla who hitched a ride in the minibus just moments before the landslide occurred. The other victims were Amarnath from Udhampur, Shakuntala Devi from Bhaderwah and a seventh person who is yet to be identified.
District Development Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs four lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased persons.
The injured persons would also be given assistance as per the norms, Rana said, adding the local administration was “very prompt” in providing help to the victims.
He said some of the victims had come from Udhampur district for the yatra.
The 43-day Machail yatra started on July 25 and so far over 1.50 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the goddess Durga shrine.
Rana, meanwhile, added that the debris on the Doda-Kishtwar highway has been cleared and traffic on it has been restored.
Meanwhile, Governor N.N. Vohra has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the tragic accident in Kishtwar district.
Governor has prayed for peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families. He has wished speedy recovery to those injured in the accident.
Meanwhile Governor has issued directions to the Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar to provide best medical treatment to the injured at the District Hospital.
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