At least twelve pilgrims have died and over a dozen injured in a stampede at Jammu and Kashmir's Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. The stampede was triggered by a "minor altercation among some young boys" amid a massive rush of devotees on New Year, officials said today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "personally monitoring and keeping track of the tragic situation," a minister in his office said.
Thousands of people had gathered on the first day of the new year at the cave shrine, which is among India's most revered pilgrimage sites.
The authorities had capped the number of visitors per day to 25,000 due to the pandemic.
But reports said almost twice the permitted number of devotees had gathered at the site, located near the town of Katra. Besides, the police also resorted to the lathi charge.
Another 16 people were injured in the crash which happened in the early hours of the morning.
An investigation into the incident has been launched.