India: More than 120 dead in stampede at religious event


It is a tragedy that is making headlines in the Indian press. In Uttar Pradesh, at least 121 people, “including 106 women and seven children”, died of asphyxiation on Tuesday, July 2, in a stampede during a religious gathering in Hathras, some 150 kilometers southeast of New Delhi, reports the Indian channel NDTV. So far, only 72 victims have been identified, he said. Moreover India Today.

These people had come to listen to Bhole Baba, a Hindu preacher considered by some to be “a local guru”, reports the NDTV, and already “subject to controversy”, writing The Times of India. The religious leader had in fact organized, in May 2022, during of a period of Covid-19 epidemic recoverya gathering of 50,000 people, the newspaper recalls.

Dense crowd

According to initial reports, a dust storm was the cause of the terrible accident. It is said to have occurred as worshippers were leaving the event, causing panic. However, authorities are also looking into the number of people present at the site, although “higher than what was allowed”, a police inspector told reportersIndia Today. While the gathering was only supposed to accommodate 5,000 people, 15,000 people ultimately attended the event, reports TV channel Channel 4 News. All these elements led the authorities to open an investigation.

Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modifor its part, announced compensation of 200,000 rupees (2,225 euros) for the relatives of the deceased, and 50,000 rupees (556 euros) for the injured, according to India Today. Bhole Baba, for his part, is currently untraceable and is being actively sought by the police.

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