Hathras stampede: 96-hours later, Bhole Baba says he is ‘saddened’ by deaths

The Baba also asked the families of the victims to have faith in the government and administration. 'Anyone who is behind the incident will not be spared,' he added.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 11:32 IST

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Lucknow: Four days after 121 devotees were trampled to death in a stampede at his ‘satsang’ (religious congregation) in Hathras, self-styled godman Suraj Pal alias Sakar Hari Bhole Baba released a video statement on Saturday and said that he was deeply ‘saddened’ by the deaths. Pal also urged his followers to stand with the families of the victims.

‘’I am saddened by the deaths….I pray to God to give us strength to come out of this grief,’’ the Baba said.

He also asked the families of the victims to have faith in the government and administration. ‘’Anyone who is behind the incident will not be spared,’’ he added.

The Baba, whose whereabouts were not known after the incident on Tuesday, also asked his followers to provide all possible help to the bereaved families and the injured throughout their lives.

There were rumours that Bhole Baba might have left the country though his lawyer A.P. Singh had on Friday claimed that the former was very much in Uttar Pradesh and was not ‘absconding’.

‘’Bhole Baba is cooperating in the police investigation into the tragedy…..he has not been absconding…he will appear before the police whenever he is called,’’ Singh had said.

‘’Bhole Baba has full faith in the police investigation…he is only doing what the police have asked him to do,’’ Singh had said.

The lawyer also rejected allegations that the stampede was caused after the devotees rushed to touch the feet of the Baba saying that the Bhole Baba never allowed anyone to touch his feet. ‘’Bhole Baba does not allow any devotee to touch his feet….he does not accept any gifts from anyone,’’ he claimed.

Incidentally the name of the Baba does not figure in the FIR registered by the police in this regard. When queried about the absence of the ‘Kathavachak’ Bhole Baba’s name in the FIR, a senior police official had said that the police would ‘question’ the Baba if his name cropped up during the investigation.

"There is no question of sparing any one....the investigation is going on…we will question everyone whose name crops up during the investigation," he had said, adding that the police were collecting information about the criminal antecedents of the Baba.

The police had on Friday night arrested the main accused Dev Prakash Madhukar, who was the chief organizer of the event, from Najafgarh in Delhi. Singh, however, claimed that Madhukar had surrendered before the police. Madhukar, who was named the prime accused in the FIR, carried a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh.

Police have so far arrested seven people in connection with the incident. The Committee formed to probe the incident has recorded the statement of the eyewitnesses, officials and the families of the victims.

Published 06 July 2024, 11:32 IST

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