Bhole Baba, preacher at centre of Hathras stampede, used to stay at paper leak kingpin’s home in Rajasthan, say police

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Religious preacher Suraj Pal, also known as Narayan Sakar Vishwa Hari or ‘Bhole Baba’, at whose satsang the Hathras stampede took place, was familiar with a notorious paper leak accused from Rajasthan, police say.

According to police, the preacher used to stay at Harshvardhan Meena’s place in Dausa whenever he visited Rajasthan. ADGP (Special Operations Group) V K Singh said Meena is the main accused in the Rajasthan 2020 Junior Engineer Exam (JEN) recruitment exam paper leak.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi reached Hathras, where he met the kin of victims who died in a stampede that killed 121 people there. Ahead of his Hathras visit, Gandhi had stopped at Aligarh’s Pilakhna village early morning, where he interacted with affected families. “He (Rahul Gandhi) assured that he will help us in every possible way through his party,” a family member said, reported PTI.

What happened in Hathras? 

A satsang by a local preacher on Tuesday turned into a site of tragedy as 121 people, mostly women, were killed in a stampede. The event in Phulrai village was addressed by self-styled godman Narayan Sakar Hari, also known as Bhole Baba.

Case so far: The Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested six satsang organisers, including two women, in connection with the stampede. Aligarh IG Shalabh Mathur said, “They all are members of the organising committee and worked as ‘Sevadars’.”The FIR names ‘mukhya sevadar’ Devprakash Madhukar, who is absconding. Meanwhile, Yogi Adityanath has ordered a judicial probe led by retired High Court judge Brijesh Kumar Srivastava and two other retired IAS officers into the incident. The preacher at the centre of the incident, Narayan Sakar Vishwa Hari or ‘Bhole Baba’ has not been named in the FIR yet.

Hathras stampede: Lawyer A P Singh, representing the self-styled godman Bhole Baba, denied initial reports suggesting the tragedy occurred when attendees rushed to collect soil or “charan raj” of the preacher’s feet.

Here are the top ten updates:

1. The controversial preacher Bhole Baba, identified as Suraj Pal, is also known by the names of Narayan Saakar Hari and Jagat Guru Saakar Vishwahari. As reported by PTI, Singh further alleged that “anti-social elements” were responsible for the stampede at the preacher’s ‘satsang’ event, which claimed the lives of 121 people, mostly women, on Tuesday.

2. According to preliminary government reports, the stampede occurred when a large number of his followers, mostly women, rushed towards the controversial preacher Bhole Baba, who equates himself to God, as he was leaving, to get a closer glimpse of him and collect his “charan raj.”

3. “Some anti-social elements hatched a conspiracy. When Narayan Saakar Hari left the venue, his vehicles left, our volunteers and followers failed to understand what was happening due to the conspiracy. This was done as per a plan and should be investigated,” lawyer A P Singh told PTI.

4. Singh stated that Bhole Baba is willing to collaborate with the state administration and police investigating Tuesday’s stampede. Additionally, he has also called for a thorough investigation into the entire incident.

5. Asked about the claims made in the FIR and a preliminary report made by the local sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), the Supreme Court lawyer denied the charges and said, “Narayan Saakar Hari never lets followers touch his feet. The mention of the “charan raj” is also false. There is no video or picture of such an act.”

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