Hathras 'Godman' Blames 'Anti-Social' Elements For Stampede

Hathras 'Godman' Blames 'Anti-Social' Elements For Stampede

Self-styled godman Narayan Sakar Hari, also known as Bhole Baba, has blamed "anti-social elements" for the deadly stampede during his 'satsang' (religious gathering) on July 2 at a village in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras which killed 121 people and injured many. 

In a statement, Hari expressed his condolences over the incident and claimed that the chaos erupted a long time after he had already left the venue.

"I/we express our deep condolence to the families of the deceased and pray to prabhu/parmatma (God) for the speedy recovery of the injured," read the statement.

He further said that he had authorised Supreme Court lawyer A.P. Singh to take "further legal action in regard of stampede created by some anti-social elements after Samagam".

The stampede killed 121 people, most of them women, as devotees suffocated to death and bodies piled atop each other.

A sub-divisional magistrate (SDM)-led preliminary probe has stated that the stampede was caused after devotees were pushed by the godman's security and a "slippery slope".

"A crowd of more than 2 lakh people was present in the satsang pandal. Shri Narayan Sakar Hari (Bhole Baba) reached the satsang pandal at about 12.30 p.m. and the program went on for 1 hour," the preliminary report said.

"After this, at about 1.40 p.m., Shri Narayan Sakar Hari (Bhole Baba) came out of the pandal to go towards Etah on National Highway-91," the report said, adding that when the godman was leaving the venue, his followers started running towards him for a 'darshan' and collect soil from around his feet.

"Satsangi women/men/children etc. started applying the dust of Baba's feet on their foreheads (while trying) to get his darshan, touch his feet and take his blessings," reads the report.