Jammu | Jagran News Desk: At least 12 people lost their lives while 13 others were injured after a stampede broke out at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir in the wee hours of Saturday. The stampede, the officials said, was triggered after a huge number of devotees came to pay their obeisance at the shrine to mark the beginning of the New Year. 

Briefing the media, senior officials and shrine board representatives said that those injured in the incident have been admitted to different hospitals, including the Naraina Hospital and Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, adding that a rescue operation is underway.

The officials, who are on the spot, said that the bodies of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident have been sent to the hospital for identification and other legal formalities.

"12 dead, 13 injured in the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan in Katra. The incident occurred around 2:45 am, and as per initial reports, an argument broke out which resulted in people pushing each other, followed by a stampede," Jammu and Kashmir Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh told news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the incident and spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Ministers Dr Jitendra Singh and Nityanand Rai to take stock of the situation. "Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," he said in a Tweet.

The Prime Minister has also announced that an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives at the stampede. The injured, PM Modi said, would be given Rs 50,000 each.

Lieutenant Governor Sinha has also expressed grief over the incident and offeredcondolences to the families of the deceased. He has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives and Rs 2 lakh for the injured. He said that the shrine board will bear the cost of treatment of injured.

"Spoke to Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji. Briefed him about the incident. Hon'ble Prime Minister has assured all the help," he said in a Tweet. "Spoke to Hon'ble Home Minister Shri Amit Shah Ji. Briefed him about the incident. A high level inquiry has been ordered into today's stampede. The Inquiry Committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members."

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma