117 devotees die in U.P. stampede

Scores injured in mishap at religious event in Hathras women, KIDS among dead fir REGISTERED AGAINST ORGANISERS
Bodies of victims of the stampede lie in a bus, at Sikandra Rao in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday  | PTI
Bodies of victims of the stampede lie in a bus, at Sikandra Rao in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday | PTI

LUCKNOW: At least 117 people, including women and children, died due to suffocation and fatal injuries after a stampede broke out at a religious congregation in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district on Tuesday afternoon. Officials said the toll may go up as scores of people were seriously injured in the melee.

The accident happened in Phulrai village of Ratibhanpur locality under Sikandrau tehsil area of Hathras district around 3 pm on Tuesday.

According to Etah SP Rajesh Kumar Singh, as soon as the satsang (prayer meeting) got over, people who were packed in a small hall rushed out. They fell over each other, leading to stampede. Aligarh Range IG Shalabh Mathur confirmed 117 deaths, while unofficial reports put the number at 130.

Police officials say a huge gathering of around 15,000 people had thronged the venue to attend the satsang held by Bhole Baba, a popular preacher who has followers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana. The venue was packed to the brim.

“The number of attendees exceeded the administration’s permitted limit at the venue, leading to a stampede during Bhole Baba’s satsang,” a statement by the state government said. An FIR has been registered against the organisers and the baba, who is reportedly absconding.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the government will thoroughly investigate whether it was a ‘tragedy or a conspiracy’ and take action against those responsible. He also constituted a probe team comprising Additional Director General of Police Agra zone Anupam Kulshreshtha and Aligarh Divisional Commissioner Chaitra V to ascertain the reasons for the mishap. He has sought the probe report within 24 hours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured. The Uttar Pradesh government will also give similar compensation to the victims.

PAST STAMPEDES

  • Aug 27, 2003: 39 dead during Kumbh Mela in Nashik

  • Jan 25, 2005: 340 trampled to death at Mandhardevi temple in Maharashtra’s Satara

  • Aug 3, 2008: 162 dead, 47 injured at Naina Devi temple in Himachal’s Bilaspur

  • Sep 30, 2008 : 250 devotees were killed at Chamunda Devi temple in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur

  • Mar 4, 2010 : 63 killed at Ram Janki Temple in UP’s Pratapgarh district

  • Jan 14, 2011: 104 killed in a stampede when a jeep crashed into Sabarimala pilgrims at Pulmedu

  • Nov 19, 2012: 20 killed as a makeshift bridge caved in during Chhath Puja at Adalat Ghat in Patna

  • Oct 13, 2013: 115 killed during Navratri festivities in MP’s Datia district

  • Jul 14, 2015: 27 died at a major bathing spot at Godavari river in Rajahmundry, AP

  • Jan 1, 2022 : 12 died at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in J&K

Who is Bhole baba?

A former official with the intelligence wing of Uttar Pradesh Police, Suraj Pal turned Narayan Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba took voluntary retirement to pursue his spiritual call. He conducts weekly prayer meets at various places every Tuesday, attracting many. Not a follower of any guru, he claims to have got divine vision straight from God

Different versions on How it happened

According to some reports, the tragedy may have happened when devotees tried to get a glimpse of the Bhole Baba and collect some soil from around the baba’s feet. After the satsang ended, the baba got up to leave. The place where he sat is considered sacred by devotees. Many devotees rushed to the spot to collect soil, leading to stampede

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com