Hathras stampede: Rahul writes to UP CM; seeks increase in compensation for families of victims

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi meets families of the victims of Hathras stampede incident, at Green Park in Hathras, Friday, July 5, 2024.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi meets families of the victims of Hathras stampede incident, at Green Park in Hathras, Friday, July 5, 2024.

New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi has urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to increase the amount of compensation for the victims of the Hathras stampede and demanded that those responsible for the incident be given severe punishment.

In a letter to Adityanath, the former Congress chief said the compensation should be given as soon as possible and the injured be given proper treatment.

A total of 121 people, mostly women, died in the stampede at self-styled godman Baba Bhole's 'satsang' in Hathras on Tuesday.

Gandhi had met the victims of the stampede in Hathras here on Friday morning.

Adityanath earlier announced that the families of the deceased would receive Rs 2 lakh each and the injured would receive Rs 50,000 each in compensation.

In his letter to Adityanath dated July 6, Gandhi said, "The compensation announced by the Uttar Pradesh government is very inadequate. I urge that the amount of compensation be increased and it should be given as soon as possible."

At the same time, the injured should be given proper treatment and they should also be given proper compensation, the Congress leader said.

"I am shocked by the news of the death of more than 120 people in the stampede incident in Hathras. I am writing this letter to you with pain in my heart and I know that you too must be feeling the same pain," he said.

Gandhi said he had met many aggrieved families of Aligarh and Hathras districts and tried to share their pain.

"The incident is so tragic that I fell short of words of consolation while meeting the family members (of victims). It is not possible to compensate for what many families have lost in this incident in any way, but we can definitely try to reduce their suffering by helping the affected families in every possible way," Gandhi said in his letter in Hindi.

"The victim families also shared with me that the negligence and insensitivity of the local administration is responsible for this entire incident. A proper and transparent investigation in this case will not only be a step towards preventing such incidents in the future, but it will also restore the faith of these victim families in the justice system," the Congress leader said.

From the viewpoint of justice, it is also necessary that the guilty persons be given "severe punishment", Gandhi said.

"In this hour of grief, it is the responsibility of all of us to support the affected families. All the workers of the Congress Party and I myself are available to provide you every possible support in this matter. It is hoped that seeing the seriousness of this entire matter, you will give special priority to the work to be done in relation to the assistance," Gandhi said.

The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday formed a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to probe the Hathras tragedy and to look into the possibility of whether there was a "conspiracy" behind the stampede.

Simultaneously, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Additional Director General of Police (Agra Zone) Anupam Kulshreshtha is also filing a detailed report on the episode, to be submitted to the UP government.

So far, nine people, including two women and three senior citizens, have been arrested in the case, in which "several unidentified sevadars (volunteers)" of the satsang are mentioned as accused. The 'godman' is not an accused in the case.