Scuffle between 2 groups caused stampede, only 35K pilgrims were allowed due to Covid: Shrine board

By PTI

JAMMU: The Saturday stampede that killed 12 people occurred “due to a scuffle between two groups of pilgrims”, the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said in a statement, emphasising only 35,000 pilgrims were allowed to proceed for the yatra against the normal capacity of 50,000 in view of the pandemic.

The board said Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also the Chairman of the Board, was informed about the stampede at 3 am and he has been continuously monitoring the situation since then.

“National Green Tribunal has capped the normal capacity of Yatra per day to 50000.

Pertinently, keeping in view the COVID-19 Pandemic, 35000 pilgrims were allowed to proceed for yatra on 31st December 2021 and for 1st Jan 2022,” SMVDSB said in a detailed statement on the tragic incident.

It said around 2:15 am on January 1, the stampede happened near Gate No. three at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan.

“”The unfortunate incident, due to a scuffle between two groups of pilgrims, resulted in the stampede. In this ill-fated incident, a total of 12 pilgrims lost their lives and 16 others were injured,” it said.

The statement said the Board, as well as the Reasi District Administration, promptly shifted the injured pilgrims immediately to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Kakryal, after providing first aid at Medical Unit Bhawan, for specialized treatment.