116 killed in stampede at religious event in UP’s Hathras 

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116 killed in stampede at religious event in UP’s Hathras 

Hathras (UP): The death toll in the stampede at a religious congregation in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district on Tuesday has mounted to 116, including several women and children, officials said.

Aligarh Range IG Shalabh Mathur told mediapersons: “So far, 116 deaths have been confirmed. Twenty-seven bodies are at a mortuary in Etah, while the rest are in Hathras. The bodies are being sent for post-mortem to different hospitals.

“The administration is working hard to ensure that the injured get the best possible treatment. An FIR has been registered and the names of the organisers of the event will be added to it. It appears prima facie that there were more people than the permissible limit at the ‘satsang’.”

The ‘satsang’ of Lord Shiva, organised by the Manav Mangal Milan Sadbhavna Samagam Committee, was being held in Ratibhanpur where a huge crowd had gathered to listen to religious preacher Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba.

As per local sources, the stampede occurred as the event concluded when some people tried to move out of the pandal amid the humid conditions while others tried to push them back, leading to confusion and chaos.

The sources added that the servitors of Bhole Baba reportedly stopped people from leaving the venue amid the heat and humidity, so that the preacher and his retinue could leave first.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to those injured in the incident.

The Chief Minister’s Office has sought a detailed report about the organisers of the ‘satsang’, stating that strict action will be taken against those found guilty.

Additional police force from the adjoining districts has also been called in to help in the rescue operations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also spoken to Yogi Adityanath regarding the tragic incident.

“The UP government is engaged in providing all possible help to all the victims. My condolences are with those who have lost their loved ones in this. Along with this, I wish for the speedy recovery of all the injured,” he posted on X after the phone call.

Reacting to the tragic incident, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav slammed the state government for not taking enough safety measures for the religious congregation.

“We were inside the Parliament when we got information about the tragic incident. How can so many people die? What was the state government doing? If such a huge gathering was planned, the government should have made proper arrangements right from the start of the event. The state government is responsible for this and should now help the families of the victims and take care of the injured,” Akhilesh Yadav said after coming out of the Parliament.

According to locals, Suraj Pal, or Bhole Baba, as he is called by his followers, hails from Bahadur Nagar in the Patiyali area of Kasganj district. He left his job in the state police 17 years ago to become a preacher.

According to a devotee, Bhole Baba had no religious mentor and soon after he took voluntary retirement from service, he had a ‘vision’ of the deity and since then he became inclined to spiritual pursuits. He used to hold his ‘satsangs’ every Tuesday and before Hathras, he held a similar event in Mainpuri district last week.

He courted controversy during the Covid pandemic period when he sought permission for a satsang in Farrukhabad district in May 2022 to be attended by only 50 people. However, the congregation grew to over 50,000, causing a major headache for the local administration.


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