Uttar Pradesh CM orders Judicial probe into Hathras stampede

Ex-Allahabad HC judge Brijesh Srivastava to head 3-member panel, submit report in 2 months; Yogi flags conspiracy angle.
Bags and other belongings lying at the scene a day after a massive stampede that took place after a satsang in Sikandara Rao area in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday.
Bags and other belongings lying at the scene a day after a massive stampede that took place after a satsang in Sikandara Rao area in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday. Photo | PTI

LUCKNOW/HATHRAS: A day after the stampede in Hathras claimed 121 lives, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday announced a judicial probe led by former Allahabad High Court judge Brijesh Kumar Srivastava into the tragedy. Retired IAS officer Hemant Rao and former IPS officer Bhavesh Kumar Singh are the other members in the judicial commission.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the spot and meeting the injured persons admitted in hospitals, Yogi said the conspiracy angle can’t be ruled out. He said the panel will look into all aspects of the tragedy. The panel will complete its probe and submit its report within two months. To prevent such mishaps from recurring, the judicial commission will also suggest the standard operating procedure to be followed during such events, Yogi said.

Bags and other belongings lying at the scene a day after a massive stampede that took place after a satsang in Sikandara Rao area in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday.
Hathras stampede: Self-styled godman Bhole Baba continues to elude police net

Referring to the initial report filed by the special investigative team led by ADG Agra zone Anupam Kulshreshtha, Yogi said the volunteers of Bhole Baba, in whose event the stampede happened, were managing it and district administration officials were not allowed inside the pandal. Police personnel were stationed outside the pandal. Yogi said the baba’s volunteers fled immediately after the stampede without making any effort to help the injured. Referring to pictures and videos of the baba with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, he said it showed the baba’s political connections.

Bags and other belongings lying at the scene a day after a massive stampede that took place after a satsang in Sikandara Rao area in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday.
Anti-social elements behind Hathras stampede, Bhole Baba never lets people touch his feet: Self-styled godman's lawyer

On why the baba’s name was missing in the FIR, which only named the organisers, Yogi said the initial report was filed against those who sought permission for the event. “As the investigation progresses, the ambit of the FIR will also expand to include all those responsible and accountable for the tragedy,” he added.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses and locals who rushed to the spot immediately after the tragedy blamed the organisers for poor management. Locals said the crowd was so large that the national highway abutting the venue was cut off for up to 5 km on both sides, blocked by buses carrying devotees from far-off places. Because of this, ambulances took an hour to reach the spot.

Baba on the run, police raid trust

Hathras deputy superintendent of police Sunil Kumar said the baba is on the run and yet to be traced. On Wednesday, police raided Baba’s abode at Ram Kutir Charitable Trust in Mainpuri district.

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