Rahul Gandhi urges UP CM to increase compensation for Hathras Stampede victims

Rahul Gandhi visited Hathras, met victims' families, and called for severe punishment for those responsible for the tragedy.
LoP Rahul Gandhi
LoP Rahul GandhiFile Photo

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi, has urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to increase the compensation for the victims of the Hathras stampede and demanded severe punishment for those responsible for the incident.

In a letter to Adityanath dated July 6, Gandhi emphasized the need for prompt compensation and proper treatment for the injured. He stated, "The compensation announced by the Uttar Pradesh government is very inadequate. I urge that the amount of compensation be increased and it should be given as soon as possible."

The stampede occurred at self-styled godman Baba Bhole's 'Satsang' in Hathras on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of 121 people, mostly women. Gandhi visited Hathras on Friday morning to meet the victims' families.

Adityanath had previously announced that the families of the deceased would receive Rs 2 lakh each, and the injured would receive Rs 50,000 each in compensation. However, Gandhi described this amount as insufficient and called for an increase in compensation.

In his letter, Gandhi expressed his shock at the tragic incident, writing, "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 recounted his meetings with many aggrieved families from Aligarh and Hathras districts, stating, "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."

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He also highlighted the negligence and insensitivity of the local administration as a contributing factor to the tragedy, calling for a proper and transparent investigation to prevent such incidents in the future and restore faith in the justice system.

From the viewpoint of justice, Gandhi stressed the necessity of giving "severe punishment" to the guilty persons. He pledged the support of the Congress Party, stating, "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."

The Uttar Pradesh government has formed a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to probe the Hathras tragedy and to investigate the possibility of a "conspiracy" behind the stampede. Additionally, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by Additional Director General of Police (Agra Zone) Anupam Kulshreshtha is compiling a detailed report on the incident, which will be submitted to the UP government.

So far, nine people, including two women and three senior citizens, have been arrested in connection with the case. Several unidentified sevadars (volunteers) of the satsang are also mentioned as accused. However, the 'godman' is not listed as an accused in the case.

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