Stampede at Bhawan: J&K HC directs for effective steps to ensure safety of Vaishno Devi pilgrims

Jammu: The Division Bench of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court comprising Chief Justice N. Kotishwar Singh and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal directed the respondents to take effective steps in furtherance of the decision and recommendations of the Committee constituted for ensuring safety of the pilgrims and devotees in the much-publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the Govt. of J&K to make public the enquiry report of three members Committee constituted to look into the unfortunate incident of Stampede at Bhawan of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, Katra which resulted into the death of 12 devotees and several injured.
The Double Bench emphasize that since the Government in General Administration Department has constituted the high-level three members Committee to examine in detail, the causes/reasons behind the incident, point out the lapses and fix the responsibilities thereto and to suggest the appropriate SOPs and measures for preventing recurrence of such incidents in future and the said Committee was required to submit its report within a week’s time.
“We have not been apprised about the report of the Committee. However, the learned counsel for the Union Territory assures the Court that appropriate action as warranted in terms of the report will be taken. In light of the assurance extended by the learned counsel for the Union Territory, necessary actions in the matter be taken in terms of the report submitted by the Committee,” it said.
The DB after perusing the record and detailed reply by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, said, “we are of the opinion that the Shrine Board has taken all measures including short term, medium and long term with a view to streamline the yatra, beside taking all safety measures and also other measures insofar as the regular deployment of yatra officer, constitution of Joint Enforcement Team and regular announcement/video walls with a view to advise pilgrims to leave Bhawan after Darshan and playing of recorded announcements at regular intervals.”
Not only this, even the Board has undertaken various activities through its Administration and Operations Wing, the details of which have been referred to in preceding paragraphs and the Board has completed various projects for better management and facilitation of pilgrims.
The DB satisfied with regard to the steps taken by the Board to regulate the smooth conduct of the Yatra, therefore, no fruitful purpose would be achieved to keep the present PIL alive and deemed it appropriate to close the proceedings in the present Public Interest Litigation.


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