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It's feared at least 12 people have been crushed to death in a tragic stampede in Katra, India.
Authorities say at least a dozen people were fatally injured as crowds became out of control at the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine as people gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve tonight, (December 31).
It was initially reported that six people had died, and TOI Cities News reports a recent update claims now 12 people have passed away.
OneIndia reports 13 people have been left injured after the stampede was triggered by a heavy rush of devotees.
It's believed more people have been injured, with victims from Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab.
Those who are wounded are being transported to Naraina Hospital after a rescue operation was dispatched, Gopal Dutt, block medical officer of Community Health Centre said.
"The exact number is not there yet. Their post mortem will be done," he said.
Photos from the scene show a chaotic atmosphere as large numbers of people arrive at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir this evening.
Some people were seen climbing onto the framework on the sides as crowds attempted to make their way through the devotees.
As the situation grew out of control, police desperately tried to evacuate people and help those who had been wounded.
It's been reported that an argument broke out, which led to people pushing each other, and later, a stampede occurred.
Speaking to ANI, J&K DGP Dilbagh Singh said: ''The incident occurred around 2:45 am, and as per initial reports, an argument broke out which resulted in people pushing each other, followed by stampede.''
The fatal event took place outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine on top of Trikuta hills.
Officials said a large number of devotees came to pay their obeisance to mark the beginning of the New Year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences to the bereaved families and assured all possible medical aid and assistance to the injured.
"Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," the PM tweeted.
It's believed the victims rushed to hospital may be in 'serious' condition, as an investigation is launched for the exact reason for the stampede.
Many had reached the shrine for Darshan on the first day of the New Year, with the site being one of the most revered pilgrim sites in India.
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