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Delhi CM Kejriwal expresses grief over stampede incident at Vaishno Devi temple

New Delhi  : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday expressed grief over the loss of lives in a stampede incident at the Vaishno Devi temple in Katra and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

“Deeply saddened to learn about this incident that occurred at Mata Vaishno Devi temple premises. My condolences to the families of the deceased. I pray to God for the speedy recovery of all the injured,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.

As per the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’s statement at around 2:15 am, the stampede occurred near Gate No. 3 at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan, in which 12 pilgrims lost their lives and 15 pilgrims got injured. Four have been discharged so far from hospital.

According to Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, an argument broke out which resulted in people pushing each other, followed by a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine early on Saturday morning.

The injured pilgrims were provided with the first aid at Medical Unit Bhawan and subsequently shifted to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Specialty Hospital, Kakryal for specialised treatment.

Dr JP Singh, Neurosurgeon, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, said that of all the 15 injured people four were admitted to ICU.

The dead bodies of the deceased have been shifted to Community Health Centres in Katra for further legal formalities.

A three-member high-level team has been ordered by the government to probe the stampede.

As per an official statement issued by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, the team will be headed by the Principal Secretary Home, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Jammu Zone, and Divisional Commissioner of Jammu.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Jitendra Singh Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, also reached the Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital where the injured are undergoing treatment.

Speaking to ANI, Singh said, People who got admitted here are stable. We may add some technical solutions for the yatra. Earlier, people used to visit the shrine during festivals, nowadays youngsters want to visit the shrine on 1st day of the year: PM Modi is monitoring the situation.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those 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.

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.

Vaishno Devi Yatra has also resumed today after being suspended briefly following the stampede incident.