In India, where vast crowds can congregate with little safety procedures, stampedes at religious events are not unusual.
A stampede at a Hindu temple in Indian-administered Kashmir on Saturday, Jan. 1, killed at least 12 people and injured numerous more after an incident that began as an argument between pilgrims at the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, said he was “saddened” by the losses.
According to a tweet from Mr Modi: “Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. May the injured recover soon.”
The shrine is often visited by tens of thousands of people each day, and the Christmas season is considered to have contributed to the spike.
According to the BBC’s Anbarasan Ethirajan in Delhi, thousands of people came to the cave temple on the first day of the new year, which is among India’s most revered pilgrimage destinations.
Due to the Covid outbreak, the local government restricts the number down to 25,000 visits a day.
Unfortunately, according to local media sources, there was a spike of twice as many visitors as were allowed to visit the place for celebrating the new year. Early morning crush also resulted in injuries to another 16 more pilgrims.