‘Approval granted without inspection’: Hathras Stampede Report cites shortcomings by organisers, local officials; 6 suspended

‘Approval granted without inspection’: Hathras Stampede Report cites shortcomings by organisers, local officials; 6 suspended

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday suspended six officials following a report by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that the Satsang organizers and local authorities responsible for the stampede on Hathras.

The report revealed that the Sikandrarao sub-district magistrate had given permission for the event without inspecting the venue and that senior officials were not informed.

“The officials mentioned did not take the programme seriously and the senior officials were also not informed,” the SIT report said.

According to the report, the incident occurred due to negligence of the organizers as they failed to make adequate arrangements for the crowd. It also pointed out that the local police and administration did not take the event seriously and failed to properly inform senior officials.

The SIT recommended disciplinary action against these officials, which led to the suspension of the Sub-District Magistrate of Sikandrarao, Police Circle Officer of Sikandrarao, Station Officer of Sikandrarao, Tehsildar of Sikandrarao, Chowki Incharge of Kachora and Chowki Incharge of Pora.

Rule out the possibility of a conspiracy

Furthermore, the report did not rule out the possibility of a conspiracy behind the stampede, thus holding the event’s organizers responsible. The committee stressed the need for a full investigation.

The SIT report noted that the organisers had obtained permission for the event by “concealing facts”. People associated with the organising committee were found guilty of spreading chaos. Persons added by the committee without proper police verification contributed to the chaos.

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Furthermore, the organizing committee misbehaved with the police and tried to prevent the local police from inspecting the venue of the program. Satsang Artists and audience were allowed to interact without any safety measures.

“Despite the large crowd, no barricades or passage arrangements had been made and when the accident occurred, members of the organising committee fled the scene,” the report said.

In its preliminary investigation into the incident, the SIT relied on eyewitness accounts and other evidence.

The July 2 stampede at the ‘Satsang‘ by self-proclaimed godman Surajpal alias Narayan Sakar Hari alias Bhole Baba resulted in the death of 121 people.

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  • So far, nine people, including the main suspect Devprakash Madhukar, have been arrested in connection with the incident. Madhukar, the main organizer and fundraiser of the ‘Satsang‘ in the village of Phulrai, was responsible for the event.

    It is notable that the godman himself was not named as a suspect in the FIR filed with the local Sikandrarau police station.

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    first print: Jul 9, 2024, 12:58 PM IST