News Brief

Yogi Adityanath Government Suspends Six Officials After SIT Submits Hathras Stampede Report—All About It

Kuldeep Negi

Jul 09, 2024, 02:07 PM | Updated 02:07 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath at Hathras stampede site
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath at Hathras stampede site

The Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government suspended six officials on Tuesday in connection with the Hathras stampede that claimed 121 lives on 2 July.

The suspended officials include Sikandra Rao sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), circle officer, tehsildar, station house officer, and two chowki incharge officers.

This action followed the submission of a report by a two-member Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The officials suspended are SDM Ravindra Kumar, Circle Officer Anand Kumar, Station House Officer Ashish Kumar, Tehsildar Sushil Kumar, chowki incharge of Kachora Manveer Singh, and chowki incharge of Pora Brijesh Pandey.

The SIT, led by Additional Director General of Police (Agra Zone) Anupam Kulshreshtha and Divisional Commissioner (Aligarh) Chaitra, conducted site inspections on 2, 3 and 5 July.

Statements were collected from 125 individuals, including administrative and police officials, the general public, and eyewitnesses.

The SIT also reviewed copies of news articles, on-site videography, photographs, and video clippings.

Despite the SIT's comprehensive investigation, no questions have been raised about Suraj Pal, also known as Bhole Baba or Narayan Sakaar Hari, the ‘godman’ at the center of the incident.

The SIT report does not rule out the possibility of a conspiracy, a notion supported by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had recommended an in-depth investigation.

The SIT held the event organizers primarily responsible for the calamity based on eyewitness accounts and other evidence.

“Based on the investigation and actions taken so far, the investigation committee has not ruled out the possibility of a major conspiracy behind the accident and has emphasized the need for a thorough investigation. The investigation committee has also found the program organiser and tehsil-level police and administration guilty,” an official was quoted as saying in an Indian Express report.

The SIT's findings highlight the negligence of the suspended officials, who failed to take the event seriously and did not inform their seniors.

“The sub-divisional magistrate of Sikandra Rao granted permission for the event without inspecting the venue and did not inform senior officials. The said officials did not take the program seriously, and senior officials were also not informed,” the SIT stated.

Furthermore, the SIT report revealed that the organisers obtained permission by concealing facts and failed to adhere to the conditions set by the local administration.

“They did not make adequate and smooth arrangements despite inviting an unexpected crowd, nor did they comply with the conditions set by the local administration for the program. People associated with the organising committee have been found guilty of spreading chaos. Individuals added by the committee without proper police verification contributed to the disorder,” the SIT reported.

The officials also noted that the organising committee misbehaved with the police and hindered the local police's efforts to inspect the venue.

“The Satsang performers and the crowd were allowed to mingle without any security arrangements. Despite the large crowd, no barricading or passage arrangements were made, and when the accident occurred, members of the organising committee fled from the scene,” they added.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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