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At Least 12 Die in Stampede at a Hindu Shrine in Kashmir


SRINAGAR, Kashmir — No less than 12 other folks had been killed and greater than a dozen had been injured in a stampede early Saturday close to town of Jammu within the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, as 1000’s of devotees had been paying obeisance at a well-known Hindu shrine to mark the start of the brand new yr.

Loads of other folks had been packed within a hall of the shrine, Mata Vaishno Devi, within the hilly the city of Katra, when at about 2:30 a.m. a conflict broke out out of doors, resulting in the stampede, police officers stated.

Dilbag Singh, the highest police officer of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which incorporates Katra, stated that officials were fast to reply to emergency calls however that the “harm was once already accomplished.”

Some of the devotees on the shrine, Bunty Singh, stated he, like 1000’s of others, had arrived to provide prayers simply after middle of the night, an auspicious time for plenty of Hindus to start out the primary day of a yr. However Mr. Singh, 45, a businessman from neighboring Punjab State, stated that the roads resulting in the shrine had been packed and that there was once rarely any house to stroll.

“A unexpected commotion broke out,” he stated. “Prior to the stampede, there was once a noise for a while, as though other folks had been combating with every different.”

Fatal stampedes throughout spiritual pilgrimages and fairs are not unusual in India, the place public protection measures are incessantly flouted via temple government. The stampedes are incessantly attributable to overcrowding in small spaces with few exit-control measures in position. In recent times, officers around the nation had been seeking to support public protection at temples and shrines, which can be visited via masses of 1000’s of other folks on a daily basis. Consistent with native officers, the temple government in Katra stated they’d taken the desired protection measures.

In October 2013, a minimum of 115 other folks died when 1000’s of spiritual pilgrims panicked {that a} slender bridge they had been crossing may well be collapsing. About part one million worshipers had flocked that month to a temple within the northern Madhya Pradesh State for a pageant. In April 2016, a sequence of explosions brought about via a fireworks show throughout a spiritual pageant at a temple within the southern Kerala State left 106 useless and masses injured.

Manoj Sinha, India’s best appointed legitimate within the area, stated he had directed officers to research the stampede and to seem into how such episodes may well be have shyed away from someday.

Movies from Mata Vaishno Devi — which is tucked in a mountain about 5,200 toes above sea degree and is visited every yr via hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims — confirmed 1000’s of other folks jostling for house close to the doorway to the shrine mins prior to the stampede. Later movies display ambulances speeding towards the temple and 1000’s of other folks seeking to go away.

Amit Chowdhary, a businessman from Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab, stated he was once amongst about two dozen individuals who fell as they noticed an enormous crowd seeking to go away thru one of the vital shrine’s gates.

“Once I fell, I believed the primary day of this yr was once going to be the closing day of my lifestyles,” Mr. Chowdhary stated. “Other people had been transferring over the useless our bodies. By some means I controlled to drag myself up and ran for my lifestyles.”

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