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87 Mostly Women Killed in Stampede in a Religious Gathering in UP

87 Mostly Women Killed in Stampede in a Religious Gathering in UP

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Manas Dasgupta

EW DELHI, July 2: At least 87 people, mostly women and some children, were killed after a stampede broke out at a religious event in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, officials said.

Some eye-witness accounts, however, claimed the toll to be 107, mostly women, with scores of others injured, many of them critical, and are being treated in hospitals.

The stampede occurred during a ‘satsang’ (prayer meeting). Visuals from the Community Health Centre showed several bodies being brought there in buses and tempos in the presence of crying relatives.

The police said the incident took place when a religious preacher was addressing his followers at a specially laid tent in the Rati Bhanpur village within the Sikandra Rau area of Hathras district.

According to the police, prima facie, it appeared that suffocation at the venue due to overcrowding led to discomfort among the people attending the ‘Satsang’ because of the very hot and humid weather outside. Following this as soon as the religious preacher ended his speech, the people started running causing a virtual stampede, the police added.

“It was a satsang meeting of Bhole Baba, a religious preacher. A temporary permission was granted for gathering at the spot on the border of Etah and Hathras district on Tuesday afternoon. The devotees had arrived at the venue from Hathras, Kasganj, Sahajahanpur and other places to attend the “satsang,” Inspector General (Aligarh Range) Shalabh Mathur said.

According to one of the survivors, the stampede took place when the religious event ended, and everyone was rushing to leave the place. “There was a huge crowd gathered of followers at the spot. There was no way out, and everybody fell on each other, and a stampede took place. When I tried to move out, there were motorcycles parked outside, which blocked my way. Many fainted while others died,” a victim, who was admitted to a nearby hospital, said.

“We have received 27 bodies, of which 25 are female and two are male. Some injured have also been taken to hospitals. We have heard that there was a stampede during a ‘satsang’,” said Chief Medical Officer, Etah, Dr Umesh Kumar Tripathi.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Etah, Rajesh Kumar Singh said the incident occurred at a ‘satsang’ in Pulrai village. “Twenty-seven bodies have arrived in Etah hospital. Among those killed are 23 women, three children and a man,” the official told reporters.

He said people had gathered large numbers for the event. The stampede apparently occurred due to overcrowding, Sikandara Rao police station SHO Ashish Kumar said.

A woman who attended the ‘satsang’ said it was organised in honour of a local guru and the stampede broke out as the crowd began to leave. The exact cause of the incident is being investigated.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has taken note of the incident and, on his directions, a committee has been set up to investigate the incident. In a post on X, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said instructions have been given to officials to conduct relief and rescue operations on a war footing and to provide proper treatment to the injured. Two state ministers, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary and Sandeep Singh, have left for the village and the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police have also been sent there.

Expressing his condolences to the families of those who have died, he said a committee has been set up to investigate the incident. The panel will be headed by the Additional Director General of Police, Agra, and the Aligarh Commissioner.

In a post on X President Droupadi Murmu said the incident was heart-rending. “The news of the death of many devotees, including women and children, in the accident in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh is heart-rending. I express my deepest condolences to those who lost their family members and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured,” she posted in Hindi.




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