12 died, 14 injured in stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine


Twelve pilgrims have died and over a dozen others injured in a stampede at Jammu and Kashmir's Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. The stampede was triggered by a massive rush of devotees, officials said today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "personally monitoring and keeping track" of the tragic situation, a minister in his office said.

Mukesh Singh, the Additional Director General of Police or ADGP, confirmed that 12 pilgrims have died and at least 14 are injured in the stampede. "All the injured have been taken to a hospital," he added.

The incident occurred outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine on Trikuta hills. Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the stampede.

The stampede broke out when a huge crowd of devotees, who had come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year, entered the Vaishno Devi Bhawan, officials said, adding that "large groups of devotees reportedly entered the Bhawan without permission slips."

The police said that rescue operations started immediately and all the injured have been taken to hospitals, where condition of some is stated to be "serious".

The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir shared the helpline numbers of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

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