Vaishno Devi Stampede: Panel To Submit Report In 7 Days

Jammu- The three-member panel set up to probe the stampede at the famous Vaishno Devi shrine has been asked to submit its report to the Jammu and Kashmir government within a week, according to an official order issued on Saturday.

The committee headed by the principal secretary (home) was constituted by the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha following the stampede at the shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district in the early hours of Saturday that left 12 pilgrims dead and over a dozen others injured.

In an order issued this evening on behalf of the J&K government, General Administration Department Principal Secretary Manoj Kumar Dwivedi said the high-level panel has been constituted to ascertain the reasons behind the tragic incident.

At least 12 people died and over a dozen were injured in a stampede at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu triggered by a heavy rush of devotees in the early hours of Saturday, officials said.

Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told PTI that preliminary information from the scene suggests there was a minor altercation among some young boys, and within seconds, there was a stampede situation.

"Police and officials of the civil administration were quick to respond, and the order within the crowd was immediately restored, but by that time, the damage had been done," he said.

The stampede occurred around 2.30 am near gate number three outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine located atop the Trikuta hills, about 50 km from Jammu.

Senior officials present at the scene said 12 people died in the stampede and their bodies have been taken to a hospital in the Katra base camp for identification.

Fifteen injured were undergoing treatment at the Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, and the condition of two of them was stated to be critical. Some were discharged after first-aid, they added.

Aditya Sharma, a pilgrim, said there was a heavy rush of devotees and some people who were sleeping on the floor got crushed.

Eight of the deceased were identified as Arun Pratab Singh (30), Dharam Veer Singh (35), Vineet Kumar (38) and Shamta Singh (35) of Uttar Pradesh, Vinay Kumar (24) and Sonu Panday (24) of Delhi, Mamta (38) of Haryana and Desraj Kumar (26) of Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said, adding the identities of the rest are yet to be ascertained.

They said the shrine was open, and as per last reports, devotees were paying obeisance.

PM Assures Relief To Injured

Expressing deep grief over the loss of lives in a stampede at Vaishno Devi Bhawan in Katra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said all efforts are being made to provide relief to those injured in the unfortunate incident.

Speaking at an event for release of funds to farmers under PM-KISAN scheme, Modi said he spoke to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Lt Governor Manoj Sinha in this regard.

"I express my deep condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones in the stampede at Vaishno Devi Bhawan complex," he said.

Modi further said the central government is in constant touch with the J&K administration and full care is being taken for relief work.

At least 12 people died and over a dozen were injured in a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine triggered by a heavy rush of devotees in the early hours of Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Modi approved an ex-gratia from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the victims of the stampede.

"An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. The injured would be given Rs 50,000," the Prime Minister's office tweeted.

The stampede occurred around 2.30 am near gate number three outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine located atop the Trikuta hills, about 50 km from Jammu.

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