Hathras Stampede: Case Filed Against ‘Satsang’ Organisers, No Mention Of ‘Bhole Baba’

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The stampede occurred during a ‘satsang’ of Bhole Baba aka Narayan Saakar Hari which was attended by over two lakh people.

NEW DELHI — In a devastating incident, a stampede broke out at a religious event claiming the lives of at least 121 people in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras last evening. The tragedy occurred during a ‘satsang’ of Bhole Baba aka Narayan Saakar Hari which was attended by over two lakh people.

The site was overcrowded and there was extreme humidity. As per officials the satsang venue was too small to accommodate a strong crowd of 2.5 lakh devotees, NDTV reported.

A case has been filed against a close aide or ‘mukhya sewadar of the self-styled godman and the organisers of the event. The First Information Report or FIR, however, does not name Bhole Baba, whose original name is Suraj Pal Singh, as an accused.

Police said they are probing the role of the local administration and the organisers. Permission was granted for 80,000 people, but more than 2.5 lakh devotees attended the event, the FIR said.

The FIR also alleged that the organisers hid the actual number of devotees coming to the ‘satsang’ while seeking permission, did not cooperate in traffic management and hid evidence after the stampede.

Clips before the stampede showed people in a large ‘shamiana’, listening to Bhole Baba. The ‘baba’ sat before them on a throne-like chair.

Eyewitness said after the satsang ended, several devotees rushed towards the exit, while others moved in the opposite direction to collect the soil the preacher had walked on – causing a big crowd build-up in a small area.

“On the other side of the road, the crowd running in the water and mud-filled fields behind baba’s car was forcibly stopped by the organising committee with sticks, due to which the pressure of the crowd kept increasing and women, children, and men kept getting crushed,” the FIR said.

A compensation of ₹ 2 lakh each has been announced for the families of the dead and ₹ 50,000 for the injured.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken note of the incident and, on his directions, a committee has been set up to investigate the incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Droupadi Murmu also expressed their condolences to the families of those who were killed and said they were praying for the speedy recovery of the injured. PM Modi said the Centre is extending all possible help to the Uttar Pradesh government.

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