Sunday, July 14, 2024

Adityanath announces judicial probe; conspiracy not ruled out


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Hathras (UP), July 3: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday announced a judicial probe into the Hathras tragedy while not ruling out the possibility of a “conspiracy” behind the stampede that killed 121 people.
He also said the “sevadars” (volunteers working for the ‘satsang’ organisers) should have taken the victims to the hospital. People were dying and the “sevadars” fled, he claimed.
Adityanth met those injured in the incident at the venue of the religious congregation here and obtained information from the eyewitnesses about the course of events preceding the tragedy.
Asserting the government will ensure that such incidents do not recur, the chief minister said a standard operating procedure might be put in place for religious congregations.
“A judicial probe by a retired high court judge will be conducted into the incident,” he said. “If this is not an accident, then whose conspiracy is this? All of these will be probed. Retired officials of the police and civic administration will be part of the judicial inquiry and action will be taken against those found responsible.” Adityanath said the government had formed a Special Investigation Team led by the additional director general (ADG) of police, Agra, which has given its preliminary report.
“She (ADG, Agra, Anupam Kulshreshtha) has been asked to get to the bottom of this incident, he said.
The chief minister said among the 121 killed in the stampede on Tuesday, six were from other states — four from Haryana and one each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Asked why religious preacher Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba has not been named in the FIR as an accused, Adityanath said, “Prima facie, the case has been filed against those who had applied for permission for the event. Whoever is responsible for this will come under its purview.”
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Wednesday registered an FIR against the organisers of the congregation, accusing them of flouting conditions with 2.5 lakh people gathering for the event in which only 80,000 were permitted. It also alleged the organisers did not cooperate in traffic management and hid evidence after the stampede that occurred as people gathered there stopped to collect soil from where the religious preacher’s vehicle passed.
CM, others meet injured
The chief minister met the injured at the district hospital and enquired about the condition. At the police lines, he met the eyewitnesses of the stampede and gathered information about the sequence of the incident.
BJP state president Bhupendra Chaudhary, Uttar Pradesh ministers Lakshmi Narayan Chaudhary, Asim Arun and Sandeep Singh as well as the local MLA, Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar Singh and Sanjay Prasad, the principal secretary to the chief minister, were also present.
After meeting the injured, Adityanath reached the stampede spot in Sikandrarau where the divisional commissioner of Aligarh briefed him about the accident.
‘Anti-social elements behind stampede’
A lawyer representing Bhole Baba claimed Wednesday that “anti-social elements” were behind the stampede at the preacher’s ‘satsang’ here in which 121 people died a day back, and contradicted preliminary reports that the tragedy struck when his followers rushed to collect the soil touched by his feet.
According to preliminary government reports, the stampede occurred when a large number of his followers, mostly women, rushed towards Baba Narayan Hari alias Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba when he was leaving to get a closer glimpse of the preacher and collect his “charan raj”.
“Some anti-social elements hatched a conspiracy. When Narayan Saakar Hari left the venue, his vehicles left, our volunteers and followers failed to understand what was happening due to the conspiracy. This was done as per a plan and should be investigated,” lawyer A P Singh told PTI.
Death toll rises to 121
The death toll in the stampede has risen to 121, a senior official said on Wednesday.
According to the Office of the Relief Commissioner, the number of people injured in Tuesday’s incident stands at 28. According to a government official, only four of the 121 bodies remained to be identified.
After the stampede, 21 bodies were taken to Agra, 28 to Etah, 34 were in Hathras and 38 in Aligarh, the official said. (PTI)


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