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Hathras stampede probe: SIT records 119 statements, blames organizers for overcrowding

According to sources familiar with the report, statements from 119 individuals, including relatives of the deceased and injured devotees, were recorded. The nearly 300-page document also highlighted lapses by local authorities who granted permission for the event without conducting necessary inspections.

Hathras stampede probe: SIT records 119 statements, blames organizers for overcrowding AJR
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First Published Jul 9, 2024, 11:33 AM IST

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the tragic stampede at a 'Satsang' event in Hathras on Tuesday (july 9) submitted its findings, attributing the incident to the organizers' failure to adhere to crowd limits. The report pointed out that the committee overseeing the religious gathering had invited more attendees than permitted and neglected to ensure adequate arrangements.

According to sources familiar with the report, statements from 119 individuals, including relatives of the deceased and injured devotees, were recorded. The nearly 300-page document also highlighted lapses by local authorities who granted permission for the event without conducting necessary inspections.

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"The organizers of the 'Satsang' are primarily responsible for the unfortunate stampede," the report said, which has been submitted to the government. It detailed testimonies from key officials involved in overseeing the event, including DM Hathras and senior police personnel.

Eyewitness accounts described chaotic scenes unfolding after devotees rushed to collect "Baba's Charan Dhul" (soil from the godman's feet), triggering the stampede. Sudhir Pratap Singh, an eyewitness from Mughalgarhi village said, "The incident occurred when Baba announced the distribution of sacred soil. Devotees hurried to collect it, leading to a chaotic pile-up."

Meanwhile, allegations of sabotage surfaced, with the godman's lawyer, AP Singh, claiming that unidentified individuals had spread poison during the gathering. "The stampede was not accidental but a premeditated act by conspirators who fled after causing chaos," Singh said.

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The stampede took place during the 'Satsang' event hosted by self-styled godman Suraj Pal, alias 'Bhole Baba,' in Fulari village on July 2. Following the incident, Devprakash Madhukar, the main accused, was arrested and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days. Two other suspects, Ramprakash Shakya and Sanju Yadav, were also apprehended later.

In a video statement on July 6, 'Bhole Baba' vowed to ensure that those responsible for the chaos would face consequences.

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