12 dead in stampede at popular Hindu shrine in Kashmir | World news

SRINAGAR, India (AP) – A stampede at a popular Hindu shrine in Indian-controlled Kashmir has killed at least 12 people and injured 13 others on New Years Day, officials said.

An investigation was ordered into the causes of the stampede on Saturday morning at the Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine, where thousands of Hindu worshipers gathered to pay their respects in the hilly town of Katra, near the southern city of Jammu.

Mahesh, a devotee who only gave one name, said the stampede occurred near one of the gates where pilgrims entered and exited from the road to the shrine.

“Something happened near one of the doors and I found myself falling in love with people. I suffocated and fell, but I managed to get up, ”he said. “I saw people moving over the bodies. It was a horrible sight, but I managed to help rescue the injured.

Another devotee named Priyansh said he and 10 friends from New Delhi arrived on Friday evening to visit the shrine and two of his friends died in the incident.

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“I have never seen anything like it,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in a message on Twitter.

“Extremely saddened by the loss of life due to a stampede,” Modi wrote.

Pilgrims often walk on foot to reach the hilltop temple, which is one of the most visited shrines in northern India.

Deadly pushes are quite common on Indian religious holidays, as large crowds, sometimes in the millions, congregate in small areas with little security or crowd control.

In 2013, pilgrims visiting a temple for a popular Hindu festival in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state rushed for fear that a bridge might collapse, and at least 115 people were crushed or died in the river below.

More than 100 Hindu worshipers died in 2011 in a stampede at a religious festival in the state of Kerala, in southern India.

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