Hathras Stampede: SIT says organisers of 'Satsang' responsible for mishap

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A Special Investigation Team probing the stampede in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras has recorded 119 statements and submitted a report in that regard.

Hathras (Uttar Pradesh) [India], July 9 (HBTV): A Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the stampede in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras has recorded 119 statements and submitted a report on Tuesday stating that the committee that organized the 'Satsang' (worship event) was responsible for inviting more people than permitted. 

According to sources, the report indicated that the committee responsible for organizing the religious event, was accountable for the stampede. The committee invited more people than the permitted number, failed to make adequate arrangements, and officials had not inspected the site despite granting permission. 

Statements from 119 people, including family members of the deceased and injured devotees, were recorded in the nearly 300-page report.  

The SIT also recorded statements from officials including district magistrate of Hathras Ashish Kumar, superintendent of police Nipun Agarwal; and CO Sikandrarao, who gave permission for the event, which took place on July 2. 

The report has been submitted to the government. 

Earlier on Monday, an eyewitness to the incident claimed that the attempt by a large number of devotees to collect "Baba's Charan Dhul" (soil from the feet of the godman) led to the stampede. 

Sudhir Pratap Singh from Mughalgarhi village said, "The incident happened after 'Baba' announced that devotees should take soil from around his feet. The devotees rushed to collect the soil in a hurry but started falling over and piling up."    

"Baba's convoy left the spot amid the stampede. Only locals and the administration helped the devotees who were present there," Singh said.    

The Uttar Pradesh Judicial Commission team recorded statements from several eyewitnesses in the Hathras stampede case. 

The godman's advocate, AP Singh, claimed that the mishap was caused by unidentified men who sprayed poison during the event. Singh asserted that the group of conspirators fled the venue after causing the stampede. "The stampede incident at the Satsang was not an accident but a conspiracy," the lawyer said.   

Devprakash Madhukar, the main accused in the case, has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody after being produced before the chief judicial magistrate’s court on Saturday.  

The court inquired if he had written permission for the event and from whom it was obtained. Madhukar replied that he received permission from the SDM for a gathering of 80,000 people. When asked if the event was publicized, Madhukar denied doing so. 

(ANI) This is a syndicated news feed. HBTV has edited it for clarity.