After Hathras Tragedy, Grieving Families Left With Questions And Anger

Chotelal and his wife Manju Devi had gone to Hathras on Tuesday to attend ‘Bhole Baba’s’ satsang, just like they had been doing for the last 4-5 years. They also took their 6-year-old son hoping that he would learn something from the preachings. But the day ended on a tragic note, one that Chotelal had not imagined even in his scariest dreams – his wife and son died in a stampede at the end of the ‘Satsang’ that also claimed the lives of 119 other people.

The incident unfolded during a gathering of followers of Narayan Sakar Hari, known affectionately as ‘Bhole Baba’. As devotees gathered to catch a glimpse of the revered spiritual leader leaving in his car, pandemonium erupted triggering a stampede. Witnesses recounted the horror as people scrambled to avoid the crush, with many falling victim to the tumultuous surge.

Chotelal spoke through tears of his devastating loss. “I was near the main gate when the stampede started. My wife fell into a pit filled with water as she tried to escape. Both my wife and son did not survive,” he lamented, his voice choked with grief.

For families like Chotelal’s, the aftermath has been a harrowing ordeal. Identifying loved ones among the deceased in various mortuaries across Hathras has become a painful ritual. The injured, scattered across multiple hospitals, have left relatives desperately searching for information and solace.

The daughter-in-law of another victim, Premvati, described the chaos and trauma her family endured. “My mother-in-law was our pillar of strength,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion. “We have been associated with Bhole Baba for nearly a decade, attending his satsangs regularly. Now she is gone, and we are left questioning why this happened.”

Both families also have one more question, “If Bhole Baba can perform miracles, why did this happen and why hasn’t he brought his followers back to life.”

Survivors recount scenes of sheer terror and helplessness. One survivor, who narrowly escaped the stampede, recalled being trapped under a pile of people. “There was no space to move. I lost consciousness and woke up in the hospital,” she recounted, her face still bearing the marks of the ordeal. “We were calling out for help, but it was chaos all around.”

Amidst the tragedy, the political blame game has begun, overshadowing the voices of grief-stricken families who are struggling to come to terms with their losses. Calls for accountability and measures to prevent such disasters in the future are echoing through the grief-stricken community.

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