SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, January 1, 2022 (New York Times): At least 12 people were killed and more than a dozen were injured in a stampede early Saturday near the city of Jammu, as thousands of devotees were paying obeisance at a famous Hindu shrine to mark the beginning of the new year. Hundreds of people were packed inside a corridor of the shrine, Mata Vaishno Devi, in the hilly town of Katra, when at about 2:30 a.m. a clash broke out outside, leading to the stampede, police officials said. Dilbag Singh, the top police officer of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which contains Katra, said that officers had been quick to respond to emergency calls but that the “damage was already done.” [HPI note: other witnesses give a different story–see video below.]

Manoj Sinha, India’s top appointed official in the region, said he had directed officials to investigate the stampede and to look into how such episodes could be avoided in the future. Videos from Mata Vaishno Devi — which is tucked in a mountain about 5,200 feet above sea level and is visited each year by millions of Hindu pilgrims — showed thousands of people jostling for space near the entrance to the shrine minutes before the stampede. Later videos show ambulances rushing toward the temple and thousands of people trying to leave.

See video report also: