Jammu | Jagran News Desk: As many as 12 people - mainly from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir - lost their lives while several others were injured in a stampede at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on Saturday morning. The stampede, Jammu and Kashmir Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said, was triggered by a heavy rush of devotees around 2.45 am outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.

Singh, while speaking to news agency ANI, said that according to the initial reports, the stampede occurred after an argument broke out between two groups of people while discussing an issue. Devotees usually trek to the hilltop shrine from the Katra base camp, a distance of nearly 13 km, while some reach there by helicopters.

"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 the stampede," he said.

PM Modi monitoring situation, Union Minister rushes to Vaishno Devi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the incident and has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured. He also spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take stock of the situation.

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, who has rushed to Vaishno Devi, has said that PM Modi is constantly monitoring the situation at the shrine.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is personally monitoring and keeping track of the tragic situation arising out of stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. Prime Minister has conveyed his sympathies to bereaved families and issued instructions to provide all possible medical aid and assistance to the injured," Jitendra Singh tweeted.

High-level probe ordered

Meanwhile, L-G Sinha has said that a high-level inquiry into the stampede has been ordered. He said that the inquiry committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members.

He also announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 2 lakh to each injured. Shrine board to bear the cost of treatment of injured, he added.

"Deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured," Sinha tweeted.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma