SIT holds organisers among others responsible for Hathras stampede

The SIT’s report, submitted on Tuesday, holds the organisers, local police, and administration responsible for the tragic incident.

| Updated: 09 July, 2024 4:30 pm IST

HATHRAS: The Uttar Pradesh government’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) has found the organisers of a ‘satsang’ event guilty of the stampede that killed 121 people in Hathras on July 2. The SIT, which inspected the site on July 2, 3, and 5, has recommended suspension and action against several local officials.

The SIT’s report, submitted on Tuesday, holds the organisers, local police, and administration responsible for the tragic incident.

Following this, the government suspended six officials: Sikandra Rao sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), circle officer, tehsildar, station house officer, and two local police outpost in-charge officers.

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Key Findings of the SIT Report:

1. Organisers’ Negligence:
– The organisers did not make proper arrangements to manage the crowd and hid facts to obtain permission for the event.
– They did not comply with the conditions set by the local administration and failed to provide adequate safety measures despite inviting a large crowd.

2. Local Officials’ Lapses:
– The SDM of Sikandra Rao granted permission for the event without inspecting the venue and failed to inform senior officials.
– The local police and administrative officials were negligent in their duties, contributing to the chaos and stampede.

3. Security Failures:
– No barricading or passage arrangements were made for crowd control.
– The organising committee misbehaved with the police and attempted to prevent local police from inspecting the venue.

4. Potential Conspiracy:
– The SIT has not ruled out the possibility of a major conspiracy behind the accident and recommended a thorough investigation.

5. Immediate Actions:
– Based on the SIT’s findings, the government suspended six officials: SDM Ravindra Kumar, Circle Officer Anand Kumar, Station House Officer Ashish Kumar, Tehsildar Sushil Kumar, and outpost in-charges Manveer Singh and Brijesh Pandey. According to the SIT, the SDM of Sikandraru allegedly granted permission for the ‘satsang’ without inspecting the venue and even did not inform the senior officials.

 

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The SIT report, comprising statements from 125 individuals, including eyewitnesses, police, and administrative officials, also reviewed media coverage, videography, and photographs of the incident. Despite the extensive investigation, the report did not name the self-styled preacher Suraj Pal, alias Bhole Baba, among those directly responsible.

Bhole Baba, a former police constable turned religious preacher, was the central figure of the ‘satsang’ event. Attendees, mostly women, had gathered to collect soil he had walked on, which led to the stampede.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has hinted at a possible conspiracy and called for an in-depth investigation into the tragedy.

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