Hathras incident: SDM, CO among five officials suspended by SIT

| | Lucknow
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Hathras incident: SDM, CO among five officials suspended by SIT

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 | PNS | Lucknow

Five officials, including the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and circle officer (CO) of Sikandrarao, were suspended following a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the Hathras stampede that killed 121 people. The SIT report highlighted negligence by these officials and the event organisers. However, the SIT did not implicate Hari Sakar Narain, also known as Bhole Baba, but recommended a more in-depth investigation to determine if there was any conspiracy.

The SIT, comprising ADG (Agra zone) and the divisional commissioner of Aligarh, was established immediately after the stampede during the ‘satsang’ in Sikandrarao, Hathras, on July 2. The team inspected the site on July 2, 3, and 5, collecting statements from 125 individuals, including administrative and police officials, the general public, and eyewitnesses. The investigation also reviewed news articles, on-site videography, photographs, and video clippings.

The SIT held the event organisers primarily responsible for the stampede, based on eyewitness accounts and other evidence. The committee has not ruled out a major conspiracy behind the accident, emphasising the need for a thorough investigation.

The SDM, CO, tehsildar, inspector, and chowki incharge were found guilty of negligence in their duties. The SDM of Sikandrarao granted permission for the event without inspecting the venue or informing senior officials.

As a result, the government suspended the SDM, CO, station officer, tehsildar, and chowki incharge of Kachora and Pora. The organisers were found to have concealed facts when obtaining permission for the event and failed to follow the conditions set by the local administration.

They did not make adequate arrangements for the large crowd and did not comply with the required safety measures. Individuals associated with the organising committee, who were added without proper police verification, contributed to the disorder.

The committee members misbehaved with the police and attempted to prevent local police from inspecting the venue. No proper security arrangements were made for the large crowd, leading to chaos when the accident occurred. Members of the organising committee fled the scene during the stampede.

The investigation underscores the severe negligence and misconduct that led to the tragic incident, prompting immediate actions against the responsible officials and highlighting the need for stricter enforcement of safety measures in future events.

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