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Hathras stampede: Devotees rushed to touch Bhole Baba, collect soil from under his feet caused commotion

The stampede that killed 121 people on Tuesday in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, appears to have been caused by a combination of factors including excessive rush, high humidity, slick ground, stopping female devotees to allow Bhole Baba's convoy to pass, and the desperation of the women to touch the godman's feet and gather soil from the ground on which he had walked.

Hathras stampede: Devotees rushed to touch Bhole Baba, collect soil from under his feet caused commotion gcw
First Published Jul 3, 2024, 9:42 AM IST

In Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, at least 121 individuals lost their lives on Tuesday at a religious gathering known as a "satsang" that was facilitated by self-styled godman Narayan Sakar Hari, also referred to as "Bhole Baba." A significant disturbance was caused when a sizable group of worshippers tried to gather "Baba's Charan Dhul," or dirt off the godman's feet. This led to a rush beside a ditch in the field where the 'satsang' was being held, which resulted in several individuals falling and a dangerous scenario.

Witness reports state that around 50,000 people from Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh attended the "satsang," which was conducted in an open field. Devotees rushed forward as the ceremony was about to conclude to assemble around the godman in order to get his blessings and the holy dirt off his feet.

People started to stumble and fall into a ditch amid the rush to collect the 'precious' dirt, according to eyewitnesses. This set off a chain reaction that ended in several participants' terrible deaths and injuries.

After responding to the site, the police filed a formal complaint to look into the occurrence. According to preliminary assessments, one of the main contributing factors to the accident was insufficient crowd management. Law enforcement representatives have promised to take decisive action against individuals accountable for the crowd control and security failures.

On Tuesday, several bodies were lying on blocks of ice inside the government hospital in the aftermath of the deadly stampede, as the wailing relatives of the victims waited outside in drizzle to take mortal remains back home. Officials have put the death toll – 108 of them women and seven children.

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