'Police were hitting sticks, crowd started running away and...,' eyewitnesses said

Srinagar: 12 devotees have lost their lives in a stampede at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. While 15 people are said to be injured. An eyewitness to the incident said that about 1.5 lakh devotees had come to pay obeisance to visit Mata Vaishno Devi in the New Year, but the administration had not made any arrangements for it. Another eyewitness said he hung from a pole to avoid the stampede. The family members of some devotees are still said to be missing.

I was trapped in the crowd, said Girish, an eyewitness from Greater Noida. There, the security forces were beating people with sticks. As soon as the security forces started firing sticks, people immediately started running back. I was suppressed in that crowd. That's how it went from there. On the road leading to gate number three, he was able to escape from this stampede by hanging on to a pole. Sandeep Kumar, who came from Amritsar to visit Mata Vaishnodevi, told that his wife has not been found yet.

Sandeep said she is still trapped somewhere around the temple. She is accompanied by her 9-year-old son. Can't get in touch yet. The announcement has also been made. Her phone is switched off. Sandeep said the corona check was conducted at the station but no one has checked the slip yet even after being in line for hours. Sandeep says the administration's arrangements are worse. There was no arrangement to manage the crowd of 1.5 million people.

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