Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital in Hathras
Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital in HathrasPhoto | PTI

Bhole Baba's lawyer claims conspiracy behind Hathras stampede

Meanwhile, Congress MP and Leader of Opposition, Rahul Gandhi has written a letter to UP CM Yogi Adityanath urging him to increase the amount of compensation for victims of the stampede.

LUCKNOW: Self-styled godman Narayan Sakar Hari alias 'Bhole Baba''s lawyer AP Singh on Sunday claimed that witnesses told him some people opened cans containing a poisonous substance in the crowd during the July 2 Hathras 'satsang', which led to the stampede. The stampede killed 121 people, mostly women, and injured many.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Singh alleged a conspiracy by "anti-social elements" who were unnerved by the "rising popularity of Bhole Baba."

"I have been told by the witnesses that there were 15-16 people carrying cans of a poisonous substance which they opened in the crowd. I have seen post-mortem reports of the deceased showing asphyxiation as the main cause of death and not the injuries," Singh claimed.

Alleging a conspiracy behind the stampede, he said, "There were vehicles parked at the site to help the men, who had released poisonous substance in the crowd, flee. We have proof and we will submit it. This is the first time I am speaking about it."

The lawyer also said that he would demand security for the witnesses who reached out to him with the revelation.

Meanwhile, Congress MP and Leader of Opposition, Rahul Gandhi has written a letter to UP CM Yogi Adityanath urging him to increase the amount of compensation for victims of the stampede.

"I am shocked by the news of the death of more than 120 people in the stampede incident in Hathras. I am writing this letter to you with pain in my heart and I know that you too must be feeling the same pain," Gandhi wrote.

"The incident is so tragic that I fell short of words of consolation while meeting the family members (of victims). It is not possible to compensate for what many families have lost in this incident in any way, but we can definitely try to reduce their suffering by helping the affected families in every possible way," Gandhi said in his letter in Hindi, dated July 6.

Gandhi wrote the letter after he met the victims of the stampede in Aligarh, and Hathras on Friday morning.

"The compensation announced by the Uttar Pradesh government is very inadequate. I urge that the amount of compensation be increased and it be given as soon as possible," he said.

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those killed in the stampede and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. Similar amount would also be given to the victims by the PMO.

Pointing fingers at the complicity of administration in the incident Gandhi said, "The bereaved families also shared with me that the negligence and insensitivity of the local administration is responsible for this entire incident. A proper and transparent investigation in this case will not only be a step towards preventing such incidents in the future, but it will also restore the faith of these victim families in the justice system."

He urged that the guilty should be punished severely.

"From the viewpoint of justice, it is also necessary that the guilty persons be given "severe punishment", Gandhi said.

The former Congress chief also extended the support of his party workers for relief works related to the affected families.

"In this hour of grief, it is the responsibility of all of us to support the affected families. All the workers of the Congress Party and I, myself, are available to provide you every possible support in this matter. It is hoped that seeing the seriousness of this entire matter, you will give special priority to the work to be done in relation to the assistance," Gandhi said.

Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital in Hathras
UP stampede: Judicial probe panel meets local people, witnesses in Hathras

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