Special Articles

Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba: The Guru Linked to Hathras Tragedy

Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba: The Guru Linked to Hathras Tragedy

Religious preacher Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba, whose 'satsang' (religious congregation) in UP's Hathras on Tuesday ended in tragedy when at least 80 people, including women and children, perished in a stampede, is no stranger to controversy.

 According to local people, 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.

As per reports, the stampede in the Hathras event on Tuesday broke out as servitors of Bhole Baba stopped people from leaving the venue amid the heat and humidity, so that the preacher and his retinue could leave first.

As permission was given to people to leave, chaos broke out, leading to the stampede.