In a tragic incident that occurred on the first day of the New Year,  at least 12 people were killed and 20 others injured in a stampede at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir after a huge number of people assembled at the temple premises.

As per reports, the stampede occurred in the early hours of Saturday near gate number three outside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple atop Trikuta hills.

The officials said the stampede was triggered by a massive crowd who have come to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year.

Devotees usually trek to the hilltop shrine from the Katra base camp, a distance of nearly 13 km, while some reach there by helicopter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and said he had spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union ministers 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. Spoke to JK LG Shri @manojsinha Ji, Ministers Shri @DrJitendraSingh Ji, @nityanandraibjp Ji and took stock of the situation,” Modi tweeted.

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