Hathras Tragedy: 116, Including Children, Killed In Stampede At Religious Event

A large crowd had gathered in a village in Hathras district for a sermon by a popular preacher Narayan Saakar Hari aka 'Bhole Baba'.

Hathras Tragedy :  At least 116 people were killed and many more injured in a stampede that occurred Tuesday evening during a religious gathering in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh. A large crowd had gathered in a village in Hathras district for a sermon by a popular preacher Narayan Saakar Hari aka ‘Bhole Baba’.

“The attendees were exiting the venue when a dust storm blinded their vision, leading to a melee and the subsequent tragic incident,” said Chaitra V., divisional commissioner of Aligarh city in Uttar Pradesh state, told AFP.

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An eyewitness, however, said the rush among Bhole Baba’s followers for collecting “raj” (dust) over which the preacher’s vehicle had passed while leaving the venue was the reason for the stampede,  Media report said.

The chaos led to many being crushed or trampled, with some falling into a roadside drain. Lines of ambulances rushed the injured to hospitals. Outside a mortuary in the town of Etah, where many of the dead were taken, wailing women and crying men gathered, seeking news of their relatives.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath expressed his condolences and directed district officials to ensure the injured receive prompt medical attention and to expedite relief efforts at the site.

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IG Shalabh Mathur said, “So far, 166 deaths have been confirmed. 27 bodies are in the Etah mortuary and the rest are in Hathras. They have been sent for post-mortem to different places. We are working hard to ensure that the injured get the best possible treatment at the earliest. A case is being registered and the names of the people who took permission for the event will be added. Prima facie, it appears that there were more people than were allowed.” NDTV report said.

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Deadly incidents at religious gatherings are unfortunately common in India, often due to poor crowd management and safety lapses. In 2016, 112 people were killed after a banned fireworks display caused a massive explosion at a temple in Kerala. In 2013, a stampede at a bridge near a temple in Madhya Pradesh resulted in 115 deaths. In 2008, 224 pilgrims were killed and over 400 injured in a stampede at a hilltop temple in Jodhpur.


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