Shooting stone hits pilgrims at Vaishno Devi Track

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Vishal Sharma
Four people including three Mata Vaishno Devi Pilgrims were killed by shooting stones triggered by heavy rains near Vaishno Devi shrine.
According to police sources, four persons including three pilgrims and a minor were killed and eight others were injured after a big boulder hit them at Adhkunwari in the old yatra track of Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra in district Reasi.
The incident took place at about 1:00 am at Vandana view point due to the incessant heavy rainfall which had started by the 9 pm owing to which the pilgrims were standing beneath
in the sheds enroute the yatra track.
Reports said that the deceased were sitting beneath a shed at Vandana view point due to the rainfall when a heavy boulder rolled down the hill and hit them resulting into the onspot death of three pilgrims and critical injuries to eight others.
After the incident other pilgrims sitting by side raised the alarm and informed the police who rushed to spot and shifted the injured to Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Speciality Hospital for treatment where one more person identified as Mohd Sadiq (34) son of Mohd Sharif resident of Mansa Taanda Akhnoor, Jammu who was ‘Pitthu’ by profession succumbed to his injuries.
The other three deceased were identified as Shashi Dhar (30) son of K M Nagraj resident of Bangalore, Bindu Sawhney (32) wife of Surya Kant Sawhney resident of Drag Chhattisgarh and Vishal (5) son of Surya Kant resident of Drag Chhattisgarh.
Families of all the deceased were informed by the police and their bodies have been kept in mortuary to handover them to their heirs for the last rites while all the injured are undergoing treatment.
Ajit Kumar Sahu Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) said that their team went to the site as soon as the incident was reported to them adding that they always try to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.
Pertinent to mention here that on Friday three people including a ten-year-old Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrim were injured after a boulders hit them in the temple area near gate number 3 that are also undergoing treatment at Katra.
An ex-gratia of Rs 3 lack per deceased who died in the land sliding was later announced by the SMVDSB.

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