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“Overcrowding Main Reason”: Hathras Stampede Probe Team Submits Report

“Overcrowding Main Reason”: Hathras Stampede Probe Team Submits Report

121 people, including women and children, died in the stampede at UP’s Hathras


Overcrowding was the main reason behind the stampede at a ‘satsang’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras that claimed 121 lives, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has said in its report to the Yogi Adityanath government.

The report, prepared by Additional Director General of Police (Agra) Anupam Kulshreshtha and Aligarh Divisional Commissioner Chaitra V, has statements by 128 witnesses, including the cops on duty at the satsang of Narayan Sakar Hari, popularly called ‘Bhole Baba’. The report has been submitted to the state Home Department and Chief Minister Adityanath is likely to have a look at it today.

While details are awaited, some reports claim that the SIT has said the self-styled godman and his aides could have prevented the tragedy.  

Earlier, the FIR registered in connection with the ‘satsang’ had said that the organisers of the ‘satsang’ sought permission for a gathering of 80,000-odd people, but a crowd of 2.5 lakh turned up. A total of nine people, including main organiser of the July 2 event, Devprakash Madhukar, have been arrested.

The self-styled godman, Narayan Sakar Hari, has not been named an accused in the FIR and has been on the run since the stampede took place. His lawyer AP Singh has put out a statement, saying that the preacher is ready to cooperate with the investigators. Thereafter, the lawyer also pointed to a conspiracy and claimed that unidentified men had sprayed poison at the event, triggering the stampede.

Senior police officer Anupam Kulshreshtha told news agency PTI last week that they have not ruled out the conspiracy angle, even though evidence gathered so far suggest culpability on the part of the organisers.

The stampede, according to reports, began when the ‘godman’ was leaving and his followers rushed to collect dust stirred up by his car’s tyres. According to the subdivisional magistrate’s report, the godman’s private security guards started pushing his followers and some people fell and were trampled. In the chaos, many others fled towards the open field and slipped, and others ran over them.

In the aftermath of the incident, Chief Minister Adityanath had assured strict action, while not ruling out a conspiracy.

“If this is not an accident, then whose conspiracy is this? All of these will be probed,” he had said. Besides the SIT, a judicial panel headed by a retired high court judge is investigating the stampede.

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