121 Perish in U.P. Stampede

The mass death took place at a religious gathering called by the spiritual leader Bhole Baba.

Jul 3, 2024 - 17:08
121 Perish in U.P. Stampede

Uttar Pradesh, June 2, 2024: In a tragic incident that occurred on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2, at the district of Harthas in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 121 people died. The disaster which claimed the lives of mostly women and children, took place during a religious gathering led by godman Bhole Baba. According to the Hindustan Times, the errant organisers had made arrangements for the ritualistic “satsang” to accommodate around 25,000 devotees, but reportedly there was a turnout of over 100,000 - a fatal miscalculation.

Eye witnesses claimed that the calamity occurred at the conclusion of the event when followers began chasing after the Baba’s vehicle while others were bending over to pick up the soil on which he had tread. The stampede which also left about 30 persons wounded, is one the worst in recent history. The Office of the Relief Commissioner has engaged Chief Medical Officer (CMO) – Dr. Manjeet Singh, who is hard at work with his team in attending to the injured attendees.

Meanwhile, U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has called for a probe into the incident and local authorities have filed a comprehensive FIR against the preacher and his managers. The report encompasses five criminal charges. However, the guilty parties are apparently on the run, with even a search of their Ram Kutir Charitable Trust premises proving fruitless. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his commiserations, but state government agencies are yet to announce compensation packages for the bereaved families and the wounded.

So just who is this preacher who has left this destruction in his wake? His actual name is Narayan Saakar Hari. He was formerly a policeman, having worked with the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) in U.P.'s Etah district before quitting service in 1990 to pursue his religious calling. Known for a lavish lifestyle, he apparently has attracted a following which mainly comprises people of the lower strata in the state’s Etah-Kasganj and Braj regions. More than a prayer is due from the Baba for the deaths he and his coterie have caused.