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Hathras stampede: Blind faith in a baba kills scores in Uttar Pradesh

Grieving family members of one of the victim after the stampede incident at Hathras in Uttar Pradesh on July 3, 2024.
| Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

On July 2, thousands of people, mostly from disadvantaged sections of society, gathered in Hathras to listen to a ‘godman’ preach. As he left the venue, they ran out to catch a final glimpse of him and knelt down to collect the mud on which he had walked. A stampede broke out, killing 121 people, most of whom were women.

At a press conference, Chief Minister Adityanath announced a judicial probe and indicated that if it was a “conspiracy”, those behind it would be punished. The police have arrested seven people so far, all volunteers of the ‘godman’, Suraj Pal alias Narayan Sakar Har. Pal is absconding. He has issued a video message claiming that he condoles the deaths but had no role to play in the incident.

Devprakash Madhukar, the main accused in Hathras stampede, was arrested on July 6 from Delhi by Uttar Pradesh Police which claimed he was the main organiser-fundraiser for the July 2 ‘satsang’ and suspected that self-styled godman Bhole Baba’s events were “funded” by a political party.

Claiming that some political parties had recently contacted Madhukar, the police said political connections and money trail would be probed and “strictest possible” action would be taken if any party is found involved in the activities.

Hathras stampede: Amid the dead, search on for the living

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