Massive hunt for Hathras stampede key accused launched, inter-state searches for Baba too

HATHRAS (UP): Uttar Pradesh government agencies have launched intensive searches across the state and in neighbouring Rajasthan and Haryana to trace Hathras stampede key accused Devprakash Madhukar, official sources said Friday.

A senior government official told PTI that the agencies, including the police, are also looking for preacher Surajpal alias Narayan Sakar Hari alias Bhole Baba for questioning in the case.

A total of 121 people, mostly women, were killed in the stampede after the preacher’s satsang in Hathras’ Fulrai village on July 2 in one of the worst tragedies in recent years.

While Madhukar, the ‘mukhya sevadar’ (chief organiser of the satsang), is the only named accused in the FIR, Surajpal was not mentioned as accused.

Besides Madhukar, “several unidentified organisers” were also booked in the case, lodged at the Sikandra Rao Police Station and six suspects have been arrested so far.

“No one has been given a clean chit. The investigation is on and government agencies are searching for the main accused who is absconding. The agencies are also looking for the preacher to question him,” the official told PTI.

“The teams have visited parts of western Uttar Pradesh and eastern-most districts of the state as part of the search operation. They are also looking in states like Rajasthan and Haryana,” the official added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also been apprised of an SIT report on the stampede.

A report has been submitted to the government by the Additional Director General of Police (Agra Zone) Anupam Kulshrestha who was among the top officers who visited Hathras to oversee rescue and relief measures after the stampede in Hathras on July 2.

The confidential report contains statements of the Hathras district magistrate Ashish Kumar, Superintendent of Police Nipun Aggarwal, and senior health department officials who tended to the emergency situation arising due to the stampede, according to the official.

An FIR in the matter was lodged on July 2 under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Sections 105 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 110 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 126 (2) (wrongful restraint), 223 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by the public servant), 238 (causing disappearance of evidence).

The UP government has on Wednesday formed a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to probe the Hathras tragedy, and to also look into the possibility that there was a “conspiracy” behind the stampede. (PTI)

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