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Vaishno Devi Stampede: Action Will Be Taken Against Culprits Involved In Scuffle, Says J&K Police Chief

Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief Dilbagh Singh said the police will probe the Vaishno Devi shrine stampede incident and take action against the culprits.

The rush of devotees at Vaishno Devi temple in Katra.(File photo) PTI

A police probe into the stampede at the Vaishno Devi shrine will go on along with the investigation of a high-powered committee, and action will be taken against those involved in the scuffle that led to the incident, Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh said on Sunday.

Twelve pilgrims were killed and over a dozen others injured in the stampede at the revered shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district in the early hours of Saturday after a scuffle between two groups of pilgrims during the New Year rush.

The committee headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Shaleen Kabra, with Divisional Commissioner Jammu Rajiv Langar and Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh as its members, has been set up by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and has been asked to submit a report within a week.

"The committee constituted would look into the causes that led to the stampede," Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said.

Replying to a question whether police will take action if those involved in the scuffle were identified, he told PTI "yes" and added that "police would do its work simultaneously".

He said the government has already set up a three-member committee to inquire into the "unfortunate" incident which was the result of the "irresponsible" behaviour of some people.

One of the members of the committee is a senior police officer under whose jurisdiction the shrine comes.

The DGP was the first who had indicated that the stampede was a result of a scuffle between some people. This was confirmed late night by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

The stampede happened around 2:15 am on January 1 near Gate No three of the Bhawan.

"The unfortunate incident, due to a scuffle between two groups of pilgrims, resulted in the stampede. In this ill-fated incident, a total of 12 pilgrims lost their lives and 16 others were injured," the board had said in the statement.

This is the first such tragedy at the revered shrine located atop the Trikuta hills - about 50 km from here - that attracts lakhs of people every year.

Singh had personally visited the shrine in the aftermath of the stampede on Saturday and reviewed the situation.

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