Police enter Hathras preacher's Mainpuri ashram to check security, say he is not there

Police entered the ashram premises of religious preacher Jagat Guru Saakar Vishwahari Bhole Baba here and later said he was not present there. A police official said they had gone there to check security arrangements.
Religious preacher Jagat Guru Saakar Vishwahari Bhole Baba
Religious preacher Jagat Guru Saakar Vishwahari Bhole Baba

Mainpuri (UP) | Police entered the ashram premises of religious preacher Jagat Guru Saakar Vishwahari Bhole Baba here and later said he was not present there. A police official said they had gone there to check security arrangements.

Police personnel have been deployed outside the ashram since the stampede at the preacher's congregation in Harthras claimed 121 lives.

In reply to a question by reporters, Circle Officer Sunil Kumar Singh said police and special operation group (SOG) personnel entered the ashram premises on Wednesday night.

"There were 50-60 sevadars (volunteers), including women, inside the ashram," he said. Asked whether 'Satsang' preacher Bhole Baba is inside the ashram or not, the police officer said, "He (Baba) was neither there yesterday nor today."

Additional Superintendent of Police, Mainpuri, Rahul Mithas said the preacher was not seen in his ashram. Asked why police personnel entered the ashram, he said, "We are not here for a probe. We are here to check security."

The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday formed a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to probe the Hathras tragedy, also looking into the possibility that a "conspiracy" was behind the stampede. The panel will submit its report in two months.

The police have filed an FIR against the organisers of the 'satsang' near Phulhari village in Hathras, accusing them of cramming 2.5 lakh people into the venue when they had obtained permission for only 80,000.

'Mukhya sevadar' Devprakash Madhukar and other organisers are named as the accused in the FIR filed at the Sikandra Rau police station late on Tuesday. The preacher, who is called Jagat Guru Saakar Vishwahari Bhole Baba, is not on the list.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who visited Hathras on Wednesday and met the injured, was asked why the preacher was not named in the FIR as an accused.

He had said, "Prima facie, the case has been filed against those who applied for permission for the event. Whoever is responsible for this will come under its purview."

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