Hathras Stampede: UP CM announces judicial inquiry, hints 'Bhole Baba' Narayan Sarkar 'has political connections'

UP CM said that retired administration and police officials will be part of the judicial inquiry committee to probe the tragic incident.

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday announced a judicial inquiry into the Hathras stampede that killed at least 121 people. UP CM said that retired administration and police officials will be part of judicial inquiry committee to probe the tragic incident. At least 121 people died and 31 others were injured in a stampede during a 'satsang' (religious congregation) in the district. CM blamed organisers for the chaos in the programme of Bhole Baba, famous as Narayan Sakar Vishwa Hari. However, what raised everyone's eyebrows was when UP CM Yogi hinted that Bhole Baba has political connections, however, assured that actions would be taken if found guilty. Notably, as per the FIR, 2.5 lakh people attended Bhole Baba Satsang when the tragic incident took place. 

"Some people have the tendency to politicise such sad and painful incidents. These people have the nature of 'chori bhi aur seenazori bhi'. Everyone knows with whom the gentleman's (preacher) photos are and with whom he has political connections. You must have seen that during the rallies in the past days, where was the stampede and who was behind it? It is necessary for us to know about it. Those who play with the lives of innocent people will be held accountable for this...

CM Yogi further said, "..The State Government and Central Government have announced monetary compensation too. The minor children of the innocent people who became victims of this incident, who are school students, will be facilitated in their education under Uttar Pradesh Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana...Families of each deceased are being given ex-gratia of Rs 4 Lakhs and Rs 1 Lakh will be given to those  who sustained minor injuries."

"I visited the site of the incident to see the initial arrangements of the causes of the accident and our 3 ministers were camping there since yesterday. The Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police are also camping here since yesterday. Senior officers of the police and administration are already there. Further action is also being taken in the direction of fixing the accountability of those responsible for this entire incident, in which their proceedings will now begin in different districts and after the initial investigation, we will work to take further action forward..."

Who is Bhole Baba?

Suraj Pal, or Bhole Baba, as he is called by his followers, hails from Bahadur Nagar in the Patiyali area of Kasganj district. He left his job in the state police 17 years ago to become a preacher. While his following extends beyond UP to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, both the preacher and his acolytes maintain a distance from the media.

According to a devotee, Bhole Baba had no religious mentor and soon after he took voluntary retirement from service, he had a 'vision' of the deity and since then he became inclined to spiritual pursuits. He used to hold his 'satsangs' every Tuesday and before Hathras, he held a similar event in Mainpuri district last week.

He courted controversy during the Covid pandemic period when he sought permission for a satsang in Farrukhabad district in May 2022 to be attended by only 50 people. However, the congregation grew to over 50,000, causing a major headache for the local administration.