Stampede at Hindu gathering in northern India claims 121 lives


A stampede at a Hindu gathering in the district of Hathras in India’s Uttar Pradesh state on Tuesday resulted in the deaths of at least 121 people, predominantly women, according to authorities. The event, which was led by a preacher known as “Bhole Baba,” saw an overwhelming turnout of 250,000 people at a makeshift tent authorized only for 80,000 attendees.

  • What happened: Conflicting reports suggest the stampede began either when devotees surged forward to approach the preacher as he descended from the stage, or when attendees sought to exit the tent due to oppressive heat and humidity near the end of the event. The situation reportedly worsened as attendees rushed toward the preacher's departing vehicle to collect dust that was considered holy, resulting in further casualties.

  • What’s next: India has a troubling history of stampedes during religious events, often attributed to inadequate safety measures despite guidelines issued by disaster management authorities. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a judicial inquiry into the latest tragedy and assigned culpable homicide charges to event organizers. Bhole Baba, who changed his real name from Suraj Pal Singh to Narayan Sakar Hari, has not been named among the accused. Meanwhile, the Indian government announced compensation for the families of the deceased.


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