Indian authorities suspend 6 officials for stampede that killed 121

(Xinhua) 11:12, July 10, 2024

NEW DELHI, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Local government in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Tuesday suspended six officials for a stampede that killed 121 people last week, officials said.

The officials, which include police personnel and district officials, were put under suspension after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the deadly stampede filed its report flagging lapses on the part of the local administration in handling the event of a Hindu preacher.

The officials were accused of "negligence" on their part.

The report held the organizers and local officials, including the police, were negligent and "failed to make adequate arrangements" at the venue in Hathras district.

It said that they did not take the event "seriously."

Local media reports said the SIT report was submitted to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday morning.

The SIT also flagged overcrowding as a cause of the stampede.

The report is based on statements from 125 people including eyewitnesses, survivors and police and district officials. News reports, photographs and video footage were also examined.

So far nine people, including the main organizer, Devprakash Madhukar, have been arrested in connection with the stampede.

The findings of a panel investigating the incident mentioned that organizers had told the police they expected 80,000 people at the event but about a quarter of a million turned up. The policemen believe the organizers deliberately underplayed the number, possibly to face fewer restrictions in hosting the event and avoid additional crowd safety measures.

A. P. Singh, a lawyer representing the preacher, denied wrongdoing by organizers and told the media that the stampede was part of a conspiracy by some people who opened cans of a poisonous substance in the crowd. However, he has not identified anyone.

Reports said the panel has not ruled out "the possibility of a major conspiracy behind the accident," but said it needed further investigation.

Initial reports said the stampede was triggered at the event when people ran after the preacher's departing car, pushing one another to seek his blessings and get a closer glimpse of him.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


Related Stories