Rahul Gandhi meets families of stampede victims in Aligarh, leaves for Hathras | 10 points

The Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday arrested six members of the panel that organised the religious event in honour of preacher Bhole Baba.
Rahul Gandhi meets families of stampede victims in Aligarh, leaves for Hathras | 10 points
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Rahul Gandhi, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, left for Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district Friday morning to meet with the families of those killed in the stampede earlier this week.

121 people – mostly women – died in the stampede. The Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday arrested six members of the panel that organised the religious event in honour of preacher Bhole Baba.

Here are 10 points on the Hathras stampede tragedy.

On Friday morning, Rahul Gandhi went to the Navipur Khurd and Pilakhna villages in Aligarh. He met the families of Shanti Devi and Manju Devi, who died in the stampede. They later told the media that Rahul Gandhi assured them of financial help.

Surajpal, also known as Narayan Sakar Hari and Bhole Baba, is not named in the FIR registered by the UP police. However, the police plan to question him if required. On Thursday, the police searched his Mainpuri ashram but couldn't find him.

Inspector General of Police (Aligarh Range) Shalabh Mathur said on Thursday that all six people are volunteers. The main accused, Devprakash Madhukar, is absconding. The police will announce a reward of ₹1 lakh on him. "A non-bailable warrant (NBW) will also be issued against key accused Devprakash Madhukar," Mathur added.

Those arrested have been identified as Ram Ladaite (50), Upendra Singh Yadav (62), Megh Singh (61), Mukesh Kumar (38), Manju Yadav (30) and Manju Devi (40). Ram Ladaite is a native of Mainpuri, Upendra Singh Yadav is from Firozabad, and the rest are residents of Hathras. "The organisers and members gathered crowd and collected donations in the 'Satsang' committee for cooperation," the officer added.

According to the preliminary report by the Hathras administration, the stampede occurred after Bhole Baba left the event venue as his devotees rushed to collect the dirt around his feet. The administration has alleged that 2.5 lakh people congregated at the venue against the permitted limit of 80,000.

The FIR was lodged on July 2 under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Sections 105 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 110 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 126 (2) (wrongful restraint), 223 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by the public servant) and 238 (causing disappearance of evidence).

The Uttar Pradesh government has set up a probe panel under a retired Allahabad High Court judge. The Congress, however, has demanded a judicial investigation under a retired judge.

Meanwhile, Suraj Pal, or Bhole Baba, owns at least 24 ashrams, several luxury cars and assets worth at least ₹100 crore, said an HT report, citing people familiar with the matter.

Bhole Baba is known to arrive at religious events in a convoy of 15-30 vehicles. Sevadars handle all aspects of security at the events. He moves in a Toyota Fortuner.

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Rahul Gandhi meets families of stampede victims in Aligarh, leaves for Hathras | 10 points

Bhole Baba lives in his Mainpuri Ashram, which is built on 21 bighas of land and named Hari Nagar. Within this expansive estate, six rooms are exclusively reserved for him and his wife.

Source: ANI

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