âA total of 12 people were killed and 13 others injured in a stampede at the shrine on top of the Trikuta hills early this morning. The stampede was triggered by a strong stampede of worshipers on New Year’s Day. The yatra (pilgrimage) at the holy shrine was suspended after the incident, “Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbagh Singh said earlier this morning.
The injured were admitted to various hospitals, including the Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana super-specialty hospital, and the condition of many of the injured was described as “serious”.
The cave sanctuary is located at an elevation of 5,200 feet in the Reasi district and typically attracts nearly a million devotees each year.
The pilgrimage site operations are managed by the Vaishno Devi Shrine Council, which provides battery car and cable car services for pilgrims to reach the top of the Trikuta Hills for darshan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the incident and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the stampede in 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 closest relatives of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for the injured.