Hathras stampede: 6 arrested, Rs 1 lakh reward announced on main accused

Hathras (Uttar Pradesh), July 4 (UNI) Six persons, including two women, have been arrested in connection with Hathras stampede tragedy which claimed 121 lives during satsang, a senior police officer said here on Thursday.

Talking to reporters, Inspector General of Police (IG) Aligarh Range Shalabh Mathur said, “Those, who have been arrested, have been identified as Ram Ladaet Yadav, a resident of Kurawali in Mainpuri district, Upendra Singh Yadav, a resident of Shikohabad district Firozabad, Nek Singh, Manju Yadav, Mukesh Kumar and Manju Devi, all residents of Sikandra Rao in Hathras district.”

He said that during preliminary questioning the arrested accused said that they were members of the organising committee and had participated in several events in the past. “Primarily they work as sewadars and cooperate with the organisers and satsang committee in assembling crowd and collecting donations,” the IG said.

Mathur said that when the incident took place all the sewadars fled from the spot and they did not give any cooperation to the police and administration. “One thing has come to light that they themselves made efforts to control the mob and they do not allow any kind of police or administrative arrangements,” he said.

The IG said that a reward of Rs 1 lakh is being announced on the main accused Ved Prakash Madhukar. An order in this regard is being issued at the zone level. Action under non-bailable warrant (NBW) will also be taken soon,” he said.

Mathur said that during investigation it would be seen whether there is a criminal conspiracy by a person or an organisation. “It will be seen whether it was a part of a conspiracy or not,” he said.

On the role of Suraj Pal alias Bhole Baba, he said that he has not been named in the FIR. “Action will be taken if anyone’s role is found during the course of the investigation. Teams are working for the location of the main accused Madhukar,” he said.

The IG said that on July 2 an unfortunate incident took place in Phulrai Mughalghari village under Sikandra Rao police station in Hathras where several lives were lost in stampede during satsang programme of Suraj Pal alias Narain Sakar Giri, who is also known as Bhole Baba. “The stampede took place as the followers of the Baba scrambled to collect his ‘Charan Raj’,” he said.

He said, a “total 121 people, including 2 male, 112 female, 6 boys and one girl died in the incident. All the bodies have been identified and the process of postmortem examination has been completed.”

Mathur said that on the day of the incident senior officers reached the spot immediately after getting the information and a rescue and relief operation was launched on priority basis. The priority was to take the injured to the hospital and ensure proper medical attention and treatment, he said.

He said that the Prime Minister’s Office and the state government has announced a financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. “For the detailed inquiry of the incident, a commission headed by retired judge of High Court Justice Brijesh Kumar Srivastava (II) has been constituted. Retired IAS Hemant Rao and retired IPS Bhavesh Kumar Singh are the other members of the commission,” the IG said.

The Senior police official said that a case was lodged at Sikandra Rao police station on the day of the incident. “The case was transferred to the investigating Circle Officer Ram Pravesh Rai on the same day. ADG Agra zone has directed all the districts for arrest in this connection. Besides, an SOG has been constituted at the zone level which will probe into the role of the sewadar and office-bearers of the organisation,” he said.

The IG said that the Forensic team and field unit collected evidence from the spot on July 3 morning.

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