IANS

The Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday arrested Dev Prakash Madhukar, the key accused in the tragic stampede at a 'satsang' (religious congregation) in Hathras that claimed the lives of as many as 121 people, mostly women. 

Madhukar, the 'Mukhya Sevadar', was named as the main accused in the FIR filed by the police. Earlier, a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information regarding his whereabouts was also announced.

The arrest comes a day after the police nabbed six people in connection with the stampede. They were all members of the satsang organising committee.

The stampede took place on July 2 during the satsang by self-styled godman and preacher Narayan Sakar Hari alias 'Bhole Baba'.

According to the FIR, over 2.50 lakh people attended the congregation while the administration had permitted only 80,000 people.

Satsang organisers, according to the FIR, tried to hide the actual number of people at the event by concealing evidence and throwing slippers and other belongings of the followers of the godman in nearby fields.

The stampede occurred when several devotees scrambled to collect the soil from the preacher's feet, which they believed could heal all their ailments. Eyewitnesses recalled how people fell one after one, with their bodies lying atop each other.

Meanwhile, the police are actively gathering information on Narayan Sakar Hari's background, and teams have been dispatched to cities where he has potential criminal records. However, his name has not been mentioned in the FIR.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)

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