Reasi (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], January 1 (ANI): Vaishno Devi Yatra has resumed once again on Saturday after a brief suspension following a stampede incident at the Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan in Katra which has claimed 12 lives while leaving many others injured.
"A total of 12 people were killed and 13 others injured in a stampede at the shrine atop Trikuta hills early this morning. The stampede was triggered by a heavy rush of devotees on New Year's Day. The yatra (pilgrimage) to the holy shrine has been suspended after the incident," said Dilbagh Singh, chief of Jammu and Kashmir Police earlier this morning.
The injured have been admitted to various hospitals, including Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, and the condition of many of the injured was stated to be "serious".
The cave shrine is situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet in the Reasi district and generally attracts close to a million devotees every year.
The operations of the pilgrimage site are managed by the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, which provides battery car and ropeway services to the pilgrims to reach the top of Trikuta hills for darshan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from Prime Minister National Relief Fund to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan and an amount of Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the next of kin of those who died and Rs 2 lakh for the injured. (ANI)