Bhole Baba’s Lawyer Explains Mad Rush At ‘Satsang’ Where 121 Were Killed

Former constable-turned-self-styled godman Bhole Baba whose ‘satsang’ (religious gathering) ended in a deadly stampede will show up “very soon”, said his lawyer, insisting that he would also assist the probe teams in their investigation. Bhole Baba aka Narayan Saakar Hari has not been seen in public since the crowd crush that killed 121 people in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras.

Baba’s lawyer claimed that the trust would take care of the needs of the families of those killed.

“We have district-wise lists of the victims and Narayan Saakar Hari’s trust would take care of the education, health and wedding expenses of the families of those who died in the stampede,” said lawyer AP Singh.

The stampede at the event that saw 2.5 lakh devotees in attendance began on Tuesday when “followers started to collect dust” from the ground where the preacher’s car had passed. Men, women and children fell over each other, getting crushed.

Explaining the reason behind the huge turnout, Mr Singh said, “Yes, there were too many people at the gathering because no ‘satsangs’ were held from February to June.

Authorities had only given permission for 80,000 people to attend the sermon, less than a third of the number that turned up.

Yesterday, Mr Singh said that his client was not to blame for the disaster and was not on the run. “There is no reason for him to hide. He has never hidden in his life,” Mr Singh said. “He believes in the law. He is following police directions.”

Six people had been arrested so far for their alleged role in the disaster, all of whom were members of the organising committee for the sermon. Baba, who cultivated a large following in Uttar Pradesh, has not been named in the First Information Report.

“They were mainly working as volunteers,” he told reporters on Thursday. “They were engaged in crowd management and collecting funds,” police said.

A Special Investigation Team probing the Hathras stampede has recorded statements of 90 people so far, SIT chief Anupam Kulshrestha said on Friday. “Definitely, the gathered evidence suggests culpability on the part of the event organisers,” she said.

The lawyer also gave an update on Devprakash Madhukar, a key accused in the case. “He was injured in the stampede. He is being treated in a hospital. As soon as he recovers, he will be produced before the SIT,” he said.

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