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Why Has Bhole Baba Not Been Arrested? What Senior UP Cop Said

Why Has Bhole Baba Not Been Arrested? What Senior UP Cop Said

Hathras Satsang Case: Six people have been arrested so far.

Announcing their first arrests in the stampede at the Hathras religious event which killed 121 people, the Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday said they have taken six people into custody, but there was one notable omission – Bhole Baba aka Narayan Saakar Hari, the self-styled godman in whose honour the ‘satsang’ was organised.  

Pressed on the issue at a press conference, Inspector General of Police (Aligarh Range) Shalabh Mathur said the investigation has just begun and more arrests will be made based on the facts that emerge. He also clarified that the ‘godman’, whose original name is Suraj Pal, has not been questioned yet. 

Not ruling out taking Pal into custody, the officer said, “We will make arrests based on what the investigation reveals… We will question the baba if necessary, it is too early to say or comment whether he has a role. He has not been named in the FIR, which has held the organisers responsible. The permission was taken by the organising committee and members of the panel have been arrested.”

The permission was taken in the name of one Ved Prakash Madhukar, the officer said, adding that teams have been formed to trace him and a reward of Rs 1 lakh has been announced for information leading to his arrest. “If the role of other people is revealed during Madhukar’s questioning, we will take action accordingly,” Mr Mathur said.

Asked about the previous cases against the ‘godman’, who has allegedly also been accused of sexual assault, the officer said that, from what they know so far, Pal was a head constable with the UP police and had taken VRS (voluntary retirement from service) in 2000, when he was posted in Agra. 

“Soon after, an FIR was registered against him in Agra’s Shahganj police station and he was later acquitted. We are finding out if he has any more cases against him and we are taking the help of police in various states for this. 

Tuesday’s stampede, which led to the deaths of 121 people, including at least seven children, occurred at a ‘satsang’ in Phulrai village under Sikandra Rao police station limits in Hathras. Police said permission had been given for 80,000 people but 2.5 lakh had gathered for the event. 

When Pal was leaving in his car, a crowd rushed to collect the dust left in its wake, thinking of it as a blessing.

In a bid to control the crowd, the volunteers and others in charge of security from Pal’s organisation began pushing people back. Several devotees fell around an embankment and were crushed by the crowd. Amid the chaos, other attendees began running, triggering a stampede. 

Issuing a brief statement on Wednesday after maintaining silence since the stampede, Pal expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said he will take legal action against “anti-social elements” that were allegedly behind the tragedy. 

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