At least 12 people were killed and 13 others injured in a stampede at a religious shrine in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday morning (01.01.2022), local authorities said.
“At least 12 people have been killed and 13 injured … The number may have been higher as the road to the mountain sanctuary was full of regular visitors and believers trying to make New Year’s prayers,” the official told AFP. News agency ..
The Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, which is open 24 hours a day, is located in the Katra Hills, about 30 km from the city of Jammu. It is one of the most revered Hindu sites in North India and is visited daily by tens of thousands of devotees.
“I am very saddened by the loss of life,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, contacting local authorities.
Modi extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Modi wished the injured a speedy recovery. In turn, Minister Jitendra Singh announced that he would go to the spot and assess the situation.
“A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine,” said another disaster relief official.
News reports quoted witnesses as saying that the daily limit of 25,000 visitors had been exceeded and that some large groups had entered without permission. Other sources make it clear that the practice was criticized as shameful.
Rescue operations began immediately and the injured, some of whom were in critical condition, were transferred to nearby hospitals.
Video footage on social media showed small ambulances coming to hospitals while it was dark.
gs (afp, ap, NDTV, reuters)
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