Majority of Naina Devi victims hailed from Punjab

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Anandpur Sahib, Aug 4 (UNI) As many as 100 pilgrims from Punjab lost their lives in the stampede at the Naina Devi shrine overlooking this important religious town of Punjab, which left 145 dead and over 70 injured.

According to official sources here, postmortem of 103 bodies had been performed at the civil hospital here till early this morning.

Fifteen bodies were handed over without autopsies on the request of the relatives of the deceased.

Thirteen bodies still remained unidentified. Relatives of the victims continued to pour in from parts of Punjab and Haryana to the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh which houses the shrine.

The Punjab and Himachal Pradesh governments are making arrangements to ferry the dead to their homes.

A majority of the victims from Punjab are from the Malwa belt as the 'Sawan Navratras' often called 'Pepsu da mela' (fair of the Pepsu belt of Punjab), attracts large number of pilgrims from the Pepsu or Malwa belt. A large number of victims are from Patiala district of the Malwa belt which was the capital of the erstwhile Pepsu state.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government officials at Chandigarh stated that 32 victims belonged to their state. Very few victims are from Himachal Pradesh, which include a family of seven members from the Una district.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the town this morning and met the wailing relatives of the deceased and expressed his condolences. He also enquired about the state of the injured in hospitals in Ropar, Nangal and here.

Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Himachal Pradesh Vidya Stokes also visited the injured here and conveyed her condolences to the next-of the kin of the deceased.

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