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Hathras Stampede: PIL Filed in Supreme Court Seeking Court-Monitored Probe

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court, requesting a court-supervised investigation into the recent Hathras Stampede that has resulted in approximately 121 fatalities

Disproportionate Impact on General Public Highlighted

The petition, submitted by advocate Vishal Tiwari, underscores the disproportionate impact on the general public during such events, as special arrangements are often made for dignitaries and VIPs.

“This horrific stampede raises numerous questions about the responsibilities and failures of the State Government and Municipal Corporations,” Tiwari’s plea states. “The authorities not only failed to maintain proper supervision but also to control the crowd gathered for the event.”

Stampede During Satsang Event

The stampede occurred during a satsang organized to meet a self-styled godman, Narayan Saakar Hari, also known as ‘Bhole Baba,’ previously identified as Suraj Pal. Reports indicate that over two lakh devotees attended the event, although permission had been granted for only around 80,000 attendees.

Legal Actions and Arrests

In response to the incident, the Uttar Pradesh police have filed a criminal case against the event organizers. Bhole Baba, who is not named in the FIR, is currently absconding.

Historical Context of Similar Incidents

Tiwari’s petition also references previous stampede incidents, such as the 1954 Kumbh Mela stampede with around 800 deaths, the 2007 Mecca Masjid stampede with 16 fatalities, the 2022 Mata Vaishno Devi shrine deaths, the 2014 Dussehra celebration stampede in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, and the 2011 Sabarimala stampede in Idukki which claimed about 104 lives.

Key Directions Requested from Supreme Court

Given the gravity of the Hathras incident, Tiwari has urged the Supreme Court to:

Appoint a Five-Member Expert Committee: Led by a retired Supreme Court judge, to investigate the Hathras stampede.

Propose Guidelines: Direct this committee to propose guidelines to prevent similar incidents at public gatherings.

State Accountability: Require the State of Uttar Pradesh to submit a status report and take legal action against negligent parties.

Preventive Guidelines for States: Mandate states to issue guidelines to prevent stampedes and ensure the safety of attendees at large religious or public events.

Medical Facility Reports: Require states to report on the availability of medical facilities to manage stampede-related incidents.

Parallel Petition in Allahabad High Court

A similar petition seeking a CBI investigation into the Hathras stampede has also been filed in the Allahabad High Court by another lawyer.

(with inputs from agency)

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