‘Crushed, unable to speak…cops late’: The Hathras horror due to superstition, negligence

Newslaundry met the injured and eyewitnesses to piece together the sequence of the stampede.

WrittenBy:Anmol Pritam

The Hathras stampede has left behind at least 121 dead, most of them women and children. And the role played by self-proclaimed godman – Baba Sakar Vishwa Hari alias Bhole Baba – as well as district authorities is under the scanner. The administration had allowed 80,000 people to gather at the satsang, but over two lakh were at the event, rejoicing moments before the mayhem. 

But how did the stampede happen? Newslaundry visited the spot in Phuleria village under Sikandra Rao police station limits to speak to the injured, eyewitnesses and relatives of the deceased.

The preliminary probe indicates that thousands of devotees had gathered on both sides of the road outside the 100-acre pandal, waiting for Bhole Baba’s convoy to emerge after the event ended at 1.30 pm. As they jostled to gather dust from the “godman’s” feet, they were pushed back by his security staff. And in the melee, many were crushed. 

“I was short of breath, I was unable to speak. The woman who was next to me died and her last words were… ‘now it’s time to go’,” said Ramshree Devi, who received treatment at Aligarh district hospital and who remained crushed under several others next to the road for 20 minutes.

“When we were getting people out, we did not even have water. Somehow we were filling water in bottles…The ambulance came about one hour later and then the police arrived. And then the fire brigade came,” said Vinay, who was present at the spot.

The injured and the bodies were first taken to the nearby community health centre, which didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with the scale of the tragedy. It had just two wards, a doctor, and three nurses. The bodies were piled up outside, moments before the administration decided to send them to four different district hospitals for postmortem.

Newslaundry met many relatives hopelessly searching for their loved ones at the trauma centre, looking for any clue that would help them reunite. At the Hathras district hospital, a postmortem was completed within 10 minutes for several bodies which were handed over to relatives.


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article image‘Baba dhongi, no help from govt’: Families search for the missing, ‘dead or alive’, after Hathras tragedy


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