Twelve people crushed to death in NYE stampede at shrine in India

Twelve people crushed to death in NYE stampede at shrine in India

Twelve people are crushed to death and 17 people are injured in New Year’s Eve stampede at shrine in India ‘after argument broke out in crowd’

  • A stampede broke out stampede at 2.40am at the Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine 
  • The Kashmir Director General of Police said there was a ‘minor altercation’ 
  • Seventeen people with ‘serious injuries’ were taken to Naraina Hospital 

Twelve people were crushed to death and 17 were injured in a New Year’s Eve stampede at a shrine in India after an argument broke out in a crowd. 

An investigation has been ordered into what caused the stampede at 2.40am this morning at the Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine in Kashmir.

Thousands of Hindu devotees had gathered to pay their respects in the hilly town of Katra, near southern Jammu city.

Seventeen people with ‘serious injuries’ were taken to Naraina Hospital after a rescue operation, while the victims were identified at another hospital in the Katra base camp.

Shocking footage showed several men clinging onto scaffolding as people scrambled to escape the stampede.

Health workers carry the coffin of one of the 12 victims who died in a stampede at the Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine in Kashmir, at a hospital in Katra, India

Shocking video footage showed several men clinging onto scaffolding as people scrambled to escape the stampede 

An investigation has been ordered into what caused the stampede early this morning at the Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine in Kashmir

Mahesh, a devotee who gave only one name, said the stampede started near one of the gates where pilgrims entered and left the route to the shrine. 

‘Something happened near one of the gates and I found myself under a crush of people. I suffocated and fell but somehow managed to stand up,’ he said.

‘I saw people moving over the bodies. It was a horrifying sight, but I managed to help in rescuing some injured people.’

Another devotee named Priyansh said he and 10 friends from New Delhi arrived on Friday night to visit the shrine. He said two of his friends had died in the incident.

‘I have never seen anything like this,’ he said.

Thousands of Hindu devotees had gathered to pay their respects in the hilly town of Katra, near southern Jammu city

Thousands of Hindu devotees had gathered to pay their respects in the hilly town of Katra (pictured), near southern Jammu city

Eight of the victims were identified as Dheeraj Kumar 26, Sheweta Singh, 35, Viney Kumar, 24, Sonu Pandey, 24, Mamta, 38, Dharmveer Singh, 35, Vaneet Kumar, 38, and Arun Pratap Singh, 30, according to India TV News. 

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said there was a ‘minor altercation’ between a group of young boys before the stampede.

He said: ‘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.’ 

Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in a message on Twitter. 

‘Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede,’ he wrote. 

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said there was a ‘minor altercation’ between a group of young boys before the stampede

Pilgrims often trek on foot to reach the hilltop temple, which is one of the most visited shrines in northern India.

Deadly stampedes are fairly common during Indian religious festivals, as large crowds, sometimes in their millions, gather in small areas with few safety or crowd control measures.

In 2013, pilgrims visiting a temple for a popular Hindu festival in India’s central Madhya Pradesh state stampeded amid fears that a bridge would collapse, and at least 115 people were crushed to death or died in the river below.

More than 100 Hindu devotees died in 2011 in a stampede at a religious festival in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

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