India stampede: Main organizer of religious event surrenders to police

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The chief organizer of an Indian preacher’s event where a stampede killed 121 people this week surrendered to police on Friday, a lawyer for the preacher said, after police had launched a manhunt.

Devprakash Madhukar was named a key suspect in an initial report registered by police under charges including attempted culpable homicide. Police had announced a reward of 100,000 rupees ($1,200) for information leading to his arrest.

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A.P. Singh, lawyer for self-styled godman Bhole Baba, said Madhukar was the main organizer of the Hindu religious event on Tuesday attended by about 250,000 people in a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. District authorities had permitted an event of only 80,000 people.

“He has surrendered from Delhi. We are not seeking an anticipatory bail,” Singh told reporters. He denied any wrongdoing by the event’s organizers and said Devprakash was getting medical treatment in a hospital after the stampede.

The preacher said on Saturday he was saddened by the incident and his aides would help the injured and families of the deceased.

“I have faith that anyone who created the chaos will not be spared,” he told Indian news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake.

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