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Hathras stampede: 'Bhole Baba' says those who created chaos won't be spared in 1st video statement (WATCH)

Following a stampede at Bhole Baba's 'Satsang' in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, which claimed 121 lives, the self-styled godman expressed sorrow and promised support for victims. The chaos began when devotees exceeded the crowd limit. The main organizer, Devprakash Madhukar, has been arrested. Authorities continue investigating to prevent future incidents.

Hathras stampede Bhole Baba says those who created chaos wont be spared in first video statement WATCH vkp
First Published Jul 6, 2024, 8:55 AM IST

Following the tragic stampede at his 'Satsang' in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, which claimed 121 lives, Bhole Baba, a former constable-turned-self-styled godman, has expressed deep sorrow over the incident. "May God give us the strength to bear this pain. Please keep faith in the government and the administration. I have faith that anyone who created the chaos will not be spared. Through my lawyer AP Singh, I have requested the committee members to support the bereaved families and the injured for the rest of their lives," Bhole Baba said in a video statement.

What was the incident? 

The 'Satsang' event drew an enormous crowd of 2.5 lakh devotees, far exceeding the 80,000-person limit set by authorities. The chaos erupted when attendees began "collecting dust" from the ground where Bhole Baba's car had passed, leading to a deadly stampede that left men, women, and children trampled underfoot.

Hathras stampede: 6 arrested, Rs 1 lakh reward offered for info on key accused

Since the incident, Bhole Baba, also known as Narayan Sakar Hari, had gone into hiding. However, his lawyer, AP Singh, confirmed his cooperation with the investigation. Singh stated, "We have compiled district-wise lists of the victims, and Narayan Sakar Hari's trust will provide for the education, health, and wedding expenses of the families affected by the stampede."

Mukhya Sevadar arrested

Devprakash Madhukar, the 'mukhya sevadar' of the 'Satsang', has been arrested in Delhi, according to Hathras Police. However, Singh, who also represents Madhukar, claimed that his client had surrendered voluntarily, not arrested. "Today, we have surrendered Devprakash Madhukar, who was named the main organizer in the FIR in the Hathras case, after notifying the police, the SIT, and the STF in Delhi since he was undergoing treatment here," Singh stated in a video message.

"We promised not to apply for anticipatory bail as we did nothing wrong. What is our crime? He is an engineer and a heart patient. Doctors said his condition is stable now, and so we surrendered today to join the probe," Singh added.

Hathras stampede: 'Bhole Baba' breaks his silence, blames anti-social elements and goons for tragedy

An FIR was registered against Madhukar by UP Police in Hathras, making him the prime accused in connection with the stampede. The police had even announced a reward of ₹1 lakh for information leading to his arrest. Six others, including two women volunteers who were part of the organizing committee of the 'Satsang', have also been arrested.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been briefed on the initial Special Investigation Team (SIT) report on the stampede. This confidential report, submitted by the Additional Director General (ADG) of Police, Agra Zone, Anupam Kulshrestha, includes testimonies from key officials, such as Hathras District Magistrate Ashish Kumar and Superintendent of Police Nipun Aggarwal. The FIR was registered under various sections of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS).

Hathras stampede: Autopsies reveal chest injuries, asphyxia and rib injuries as causes of death

The three-member SIT has recorded statements from 90 individuals so far. Additionally, the state government has set up a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to further investigate the incident.

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