We never thought such an incident would happen, says father of 3-year-old killed in Hathras stampede

He was among the 122 people, who died in the stampede here on Tuesday.
Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital, in Hathras, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. Over 100 were killed and several injured in the stampede, according to officials.
Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital, in Hathras, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. Over 100 were killed and several injured in the stampede, according to officials.Photo | PTI

HATHRAS: "We never thought that such an incident would take place," father of a three-year-old boy, who died in the stampede at a religious congregation here, said on Wednesday.

Satyendra Yadav (29) works as a driver in Delhi and had reached here with his family members on Tuesday morning to attend a 'satsang'.

"As I reached my vehicle (a three-wheeler loader) along with my mother, who had come to the event from the village, I got a call from my wife... she said, 'Pilua thaane aa jaao, Chhota khatam ho gayaa hai' (Come to the Pilua police station, Chhota is no more)," Yadav told PTI.

The three-year-old son of Yadav, Rovin, was affectionately called as Chhota by his family.

He was among the 122 people, who died in the stampede here on Tuesday.

"I, along with my wife, her two sisters and our two sons, left Delhi on Monday night at around 11 pm and by 5.30 am (on Tuesday), we reached here," Yadav said.

"The incident is indeed very devastating for my family," Yadav, who is in his village in Uttar Pradesh's Etah, said.

Rovin's last rites were performed in their village on Tuesday night, he added.

Recalling some of the scenes from the stampede, Yadav said, "I do not remember anything about the commotion that took place. Later on, I saw some people carrying a woman somewhere. I thought that she might have fainted (due to the weather), and hence she would be given medical treatment. I had not seriously thought about the incident."

"Then, I got a call from my wife. My voice was reaching her, but I could not hear what she was saying. So, I told her to come to the place where I had parked my vehicle," he said.

Sometime later, when he got another call from her, she, along with her sisters, was at the Pilua police station (in Etah) and informed him about Rovin's death, Yadav said, adding that he then informed his brother, who subsequently informed their father.

Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital, in Hathras, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. Over 100 were killed and several injured in the stampede, according to officials.
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Later, a large number of people from Yadav's village, including the village pradhan, reached the spot, he said.

Similarly, for the brother-sister duo Kaavya (3) and Ayush (9), the bus journey from Jaipur, Rajasthan, on Monday evening to the event venue here proved to be their last.

Ramlakhan, who was accompanying his brother-in-law and the father of the deceased siblings, Anad, to Shahjahanpur in a bus, said that he has yet not given the tragic news to him, fearing it would shock him.

"I came to know about the tragic incident around 5 pm. They (Kaavya and Ayush) had gone to the 'satsang' along with my wife, who is their paternal aunt. We belong to Shahjahanpur but I work in Jaipur. The children, along with other family members, had left Jaipur on Monday evening and they had reached the program venue by 6 am," Ramlakhan said.

"I was very attached to both the children and on Sunday, I had spoken to them. This is a very tragic incident and a sad moment for our family. We had never expected that such an incident would take place. The children and family members had attended 'satsang' programs on earlier occasions as well," he said, adding that he had come to know that there was overcrowding at the venue.

"The father of Ayush and Kaavya is with me (on the bus). I have not told him about the tragic news so that he does not get a shock," Ramlakhan said.

He said that he spoke to his wife Rama between 5 pm and 6 pm on Tuesday, and it was the police personnel who facilitated the conversation as she does not have a mobile phone.

For both families, the deaths of their children have come as a profound shock.

Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital, in Hathras, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. Over 100 were killed and several injured in the stampede, according to officials.
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A stampede at a religious congregation on Tuesday in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh killed 122 people, most of them women, as devotees suffocated to death and bodies piled atop each other.

The stampede took place as the 'satsang' here ended.

Some accounts said people slipped in the slush as they ran after the preacher's car, triggering the stampede.

The victims were part of the crowd which had gathered near Phulrai village in the Sikandrarau area for the 'satsang' by religious preacher Baba Narayan Hari, also known as Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba.

Around 2.5 lakh devotees had gathered in the Hathras district's Phulrai village for the 'satsang', police said.

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