Vaishno Devi stampede: Probe panel directed to submit report within a week
The panel set up by the Jammu and Kashmir administration to investigate the stampede in Vaishno Devi shrine has been directed to submit its report within a week, according to the official order.
Earlier in the day, Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha ordered an inquiry into the stampede and constituted a panel for the same after the incident killed as many as 12 people and left 15 others injured. The panel will be headed by the Union territory's principal secretary (home) Shaleen Kabra, and will also comprise additional director general (ADG) of police Mukesh Singh and Jammu divisional commissioner Raghav Langer.
As per the order, the committee will examine in detail the causes or reasons behind the stampede, point out the lapses and fix them thereafter, and suggest measures to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
The incident happened 300 metres from the Holy Cave at about 2.15am on January 1, Vaishno Devi Shrine Board chief executive officer Ramesh Kumar told Hindustan Times.
Officials said the incident was triggered by excessive rush. The yatra, notably, was suspended for a short while due to the incident but resumed later.
Several prominent political figures expressed their condolences for the lives lost on the first day of the new year in the UT. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express grief and said that he is “extremely saddened” by the stampede.
Sinha has announced ₹2 lakh to the injured and said that the Vaishno Devi shrine board will bear the cost of the treatment of the injured persons. He also announced ₹10 lakh ex gratia each to the next of kin of those who were killed.
PM Modi has also announced ₹2 lakh ex gratia from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to the next of kin of deceased persons in the stampede. The injured will be provided with ₹50,000.
The injured people are currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals, including Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, and the condition of some has been touted as “serious."
(With ANI inputs)