12 people are killed in a stampede at an Indian religious shrine.

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12 people are killed in a stampede at an Indian religious shrine.

Officials say at least 12 people were killed and 13 others were injured in a stampede at a holy temple in India early Saturday as thousands of pilgrims gathered to offer prayers.

The tragedy occurred about 3:00 a.m. (2130 GMT) on the way to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Indian-administered Kashmir, one of the country’s most renowned Hindu sites, while it was still dark.

“People collided with one another… It was difficult to tell whose leg or arms were entangled in the other’s “Ravinder, a witness who only supplied his first name, spoke to AFP via phone from the scene.

“By the time ambulances arrived after approximately half an hour, I had assisted in the recovery of eight bodies. I’m grateful to be alive, but I’m still shaken by what I witnessed “he stated

According to one official, there was a rush to offer special New Year’s prayers, but this was not confirmed by others.

Thousands of shrines can be found across Hindu-majority India’s cities, towns, and villages, as well as distant locations in the Himalayas and the south’s jungles.

Some are very important pilgrimage destinations, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has spent a lot of money to improve infrastructure to make it easier to go to them.

Before the pandemic, some 100,000 devotees would go up a steep, winding path to Vaishno Devi’s shrine, which is housed in a tiny cave.

Authorities had set a daily limit of 25,000 people, but witnesses and press accounts suggested that this figure had been exceeded multiple times.

In India in 2008, there were two stampedes in as many months, killing over 370 Hindus. Others killed around 100 people in Kerala in 2011 and Madhya Pradesh two years later.

Other reports stated that an argument had erupted between devotees in the most recent event.

Rescue operations began right once, and the injured were rushed to the hospital, some of them were said to be in critical condition.

Small minivan ambulances with flashing lights rushed to hospitals while it was still dark, as well as enormous crowds, according to video footage shared on social media.

After the stampede, access to the temple was temporarily halted, but it was later restored.

Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of Hindu goddess Vaishnavi, has a shrine in the hills around 60 kilometers from Jammu.

People travel to the adjacent busy town of Katra, then walk upwards for around 15 kilometers on foot or by pony to the cave entrance (there is also a helicopter service). The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

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