Home NewsAfrica New Year stampede at India religious shrine kills 12 | News24

New Year stampede at India religious shrine kills 12 | News24

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  • Not less than 12 individuals have died in a stampede on New 12 months’s Eve in Indian-administered Kashmir.
  • The incident is claimed to have occurred at a non secular shrine that had tens of 1000’s of individuals in attendance.
  • Footage seen on social media depicted a mosh pit with terrified pilgrims trying to flee the gang.

Twelve individuals have been crushed to demise in a stampede at an Indian spiritual shrine within the early hours of Saturday as tens of 1000’s of pilgrims massed to supply prayers, officers mentioned.

The catastrophe unfolded in darkness at round 15:00 on the packed path to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Indian-administered Kashmir, visited by hundreds of thousands yearly as one in all Hinduism’s most revered websites.

Survivor Ravinder advised AFP:

Individuals fell over one another… It was troublesome to determine whose leg or arms have been tangled with whose. I helped choose up eight our bodies by the point ambulances arrived after about half an hour. I really feel fortunate to be alive however am nonetheless shaking with reminiscence of what I noticed.

– This dialog occurred over the telephone.

Video footage confirmed terrified pilgrims clinging onto steel rafters to flee the frenzy and the blue lights of small minivan ambulances flashing within the darkness as they tried to hurry to hospitals by means of large crowds.

Officers sought accountable an alleged altercation between two teams of youths and a rush of individuals for New 12 months’s Day.

“Police and officers… have been fast to reply (after the altercation), and the order inside the crowd was instantly restored,” native police chief Dilbag Singh advised the Press Belief of India information company.

“However by that point, the injury had been carried out,” he mentioned.

However witnesses mentioned that the authorities have been badly organised, one thing denied by the shrine’s administration.

Round a dozen individuals have been additionally injured.

Holy websites

Hundreds of thousands of shrines dot Hindu-majority India’s cities, cities and villages in addition to distant websites within the Himalayas and jungles within the south.

Some are massively vital pilgrimage websites, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist authorities has invested closely in bettering infrastructure to ease entry.

Earlier than the pandemic, on daily basis about 100 000 devotees would trek up a steep winding monitor to the slender cave containing the shrine to Vaishno Devi.

Authorities had capped the each day quantity to 25 000 however witnesses and press experiences mentioned that this may occasionally have been exceeded a number of occasions over.

“There have been a minimum of 100 000 individuals there. Nobody was checking registration slips of the devotees,” mentioned Ravinder, who solely gave one identify.

He added: 

I’ve been there many occasions however (I’ve) by no means seen such a rush of individuals. It was solely when a few of us managed to raise a lifeless physique up with our fingers that individuals may see (what was taking place) and made house for shifting the our bodies out.

One other witness who got here from Ghaziabad outdoors New Delhi with a gaggle of round 10 individuals mentioned there was clearly “mismanagement”.

“If (they’d identified) that a lot crowding was taking place, they need to have stopped the individuals,” the person mentioned with out giving his identify.

Horse or helicopter

In 2008, two stampedes in as many months in India left greater than 370 Hindus lifeless. Others in Kerala in 2011 and in Madhya Pradesh two years later every killed greater than 100.

The shrine to Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of Hindu goddess Vaishnavi, is within the hills some 60 kilometres from the town of Jammu. It noticed 8.5 million guests in 2018.

Individuals journey to the close by busy city of Katra after which trek upwards for round 15 kilometres on foot or by pony – there’s additionally a helicopter service – alongside a winding monitor lined with stalls in addition to monkeys.

As soon as they’ve reached the cave entrance they typically have to attend for hours.

Modi, carrying a saffron scarf, rode a pony as much as the shrine shortly earlier than being elected in 2014.

He mentioned on Twitter that he was “extraordinarily saddened” by the tragedy.

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