President, PM condole deaths in Vaishno Devi stampede

PMO announces ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh for next of kin of those killed and ₹50,000 for the injured


President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their condolences to the bereaved families of 12 persons who were killed at a stampede at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in the early hours of Saturday. Over a dozen others were injured in the incident.

Speaking during a video address to farmers while releasing the tenth instalment of funds under the PM Kisan scheme, Mr. Modi said, “I express my deep condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and those who have been injured in the stampede.”

He said that the Centre is in constant touch with the J&K administration. “I spoke to Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha. We are keeping an eye on the treatment of the injured and providing other relief measures,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi approved ex-gratia relief from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the victims of the stampede. “An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. The injured would be given Rs 50,000,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

The J&K administration has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.

In a series of tweets, the office of the J&K Lieutenant-Governor, expressing pain at the loss of lives, said, “Spoke to Hon’ble Home Minister Shri Amit Shah Ji. Briefed him about the incident. A high level inquiry has been ordered into today’s stampede. The Inquiry Committee will be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) with ADGP, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as members.”

President Kovind said in a tweet: “Very distressed to know that an unfortunate stampede claimed lives of devotees at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhavan. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. I wish speedy recovery to those injured.”

Other Opposition leaders also expressed their condolences to the bereaved families. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said: “The stampede at Mata Vaishnodevi temple is extremely tragic. My condolences to the families of the deceased. Wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”

Later, at a press conference, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said that such incidents were highly avoidable. “I do hope that the government does a careful investigation of how 12 precious lives were lost and also fix accountability of those in the deciding positions for the incident,” he said.

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