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Indian Event Organizer Arrested After Fatal Stampede Incident

Indian Event Organizer Arrested After Fatal Stampede Incident

The main event organizer of a religious event in northern India, where 121 people died in a stampede last week, has surrendered to police, according to his lawyer. The incident in Hathras district, Uttar Pradesh, is one of the deadliest disasters of its kind in over ten years.

Most of the victims were women and children attending the satsang, a Hindu religious gathering. Chaos erupted as the event concluded, with many rushing towards the preacher’s car in the overcrowded congregation.

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The tragedy has sparked anger in India, prompting concerns about safety lapses and crowd control. Police announced on Thursday that they had arrested six individuals linked to organizing the event.

On Friday night, police reported that they apprehended Devprakash Madhukar, the primary event organizer of the event, in Delhi’s Najafgarh area and handed him over to Uttar Pradesh state police. However, AP Singh, a lawyer representing preacher Bhole Baba who led the congregation, later clarified that Mr. Madhukar had voluntarily surrendered to the police.

Singh stated to news agency, “We had planned to surrender Devprakash Madhukar, bring him before the police, facilitate his interrogation, cooperate with the investigation, and participate in the inquiry.” He added, “We have turned him over to the special investigation team and Uttar Pradesh police for a thorough investigation.”

Madhukar appeared before a local court and was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. He faces charges including attempted culpable homicide according to the police complaint, which indicated that while officials permitted 80,000 attendees, approximately 250,000 showed up. The police report details that as thousands of devotees rushed towards the preacher’s departing vehicle, they collected dust from the path as an act of devotion.

However, Singh refuted responsibility and told that the stampede occurred “due to some anti-social elements” and alleged a “criminal conspiracy” against his client. He also denied allegations that security guards exacerbated panic by pushing away people seeking Bhole Baba’s blessing during the festival. A judicial inquiry commission comprising three members has been established to investigate the incident.