Hathras Stampede Hathras Stampede

121 Killed Trampled in Hathras Stampede, India’s Largest Tragedy

A total of 121 people died in a stampede at Fullerai Village, Sikandrarao Town, Hathras District, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday night (2/6/2024). That incident happened during a satsang (prayer meeting) that featured a fake godman: Surajpal alias Narayan Sakar Hari or Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba. It was the biggest crowd tragedy in Indian history.

After Bhole Babah’s sermon was finished and he left, hundreds of thousands of people were instantly jostled to death, killing 116 people that night. On Wednesday morning, the Intelligence Department officially announced that the death toll had risen to 121. Meanwhile, hundreds of devotees were undergoing treatment in Hathras, Etah, and Aligarh, according to the Uttar Pradesh Relief of Commissioner’s report.

What really happened and where is Bhole Baba after this incident?

What we need to know about the fake godman Bhole Baba

Bhole Baba—former name Saurabh Kumar—previously served in the Uttar Pradesh Police Intelligence Department. He quit his job after 17 years and embarked on a spiritual journey as a preacher. Deshsewak news agency reported that he was often seen preaching in a white suit and tie.

On that night, Bhole Baba was holding a satsang program with his wife, Patiala Ke Sakaar Vishwa Hari Baba. This spiritual event turned into a tragedy that killed hundreds of people. Bhole Baba was not seen after this incident. He fled and there is no narrative that he has been found.

How did 121 of people got trampled and killed

The crowd at satsang in Hathras, India.

There are two versions of the story floating around in India about the cause of the accident at Hathras. However, the Police have uncovered the true facts through a First Information Report (FIR).

The first story is, after the satsang ended, a crowd of devotees in the thousands rushed to grab the dust from Baba’s feet, causing the accident. Another version is that some people fell unconscious due to overheating. The situation got out of hand and led to a stampede.

The police added that most of the women and children died as a result of falling into the swamps near the site of the stampede, and could not get up. The entire area was damp and swampy from rains the day before. The women wearing sarees slipped in the mud and swamp and were trampled by the mob who ran away as the situation became chaotic.

Who is guilty

The FIR accused the organizers of violating the crowd size provisions. They were only allowed to accommodate 80,000 people, but apparently the devotees who came were around 2.5 lakh or 250 thousand people dominated by women.

“On the other side of the road, the crowd running in water and mud-filled fields behind Baba’s car was forcibly stopped by the organizing committee with sticks, as the crowd pressure continued to increase and women, children, and men continued to be crushed,” the FIR explained.

Police had organized a search for Bhole Baba at Ram Kutir Charitable Trust, Mainpuri District, but to no avail. Along with a number of people, Uttar Pradesh Police through a FIR named Dev Prakash Madhukar, the manager and organizer as an accused under BNS Section-105, 110, 126, 223, 238. Surprisingly, despite hundreds of people dying in the event, the FIR did not include Bhole Baba’s name in the list of accused.

The FIR also states that Bhole Baba’s followers threw the slippers and belongings of the victims in a nearby field with standing crops to hide the evidence of the raid. Currently, the police are conducting investigations to prove whether the incident was an accident or a conspiracy. The government has also announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured.