Three days after a stampede killed 25 followers of Jai Gurudev in Varanasi, the district administration has cancelled the permission it had given to another group of supporters to hold a religious congregation in Cholapur on October 23. The permission, which was granted last month, was rejected on Monday on the ground that the congregation could affect law and order.
As many as 25 people were killed in the stampede at Ram Nagar area in Varanasi last Saturday when thousands of Jai Gurudev followers were on their way to attend a congregation in Chandauli district. The congregation was organised by Jai Gurudev Dharam Pracharak Sanstha led by Pankaj Yadav, who runs an ashram in Mathura. On Tuesday, Chief Minster Akhilesh Yadav ordered a judicial probe into the stampede by a one-man inquiry commission. The commission will be headed by Allahabad High Court Justice (retd) Rajmani Chauhan, who has been asked to submit his report within two months.
The October 23 congregation was to be organised by Jai Gurudev disciple Umakant Tiwari, who runs an ashram under the banner of ‘Jai Gurudev Dharam Vikas Sanstha’ at Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh. Alopur village, where the event was to be organised, is around 12 km from Varanasi.
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On September 7, the Varanasi district administration had given permission to Tiwari to hold a congregation at Alopur. The application seeking permission was filed by Tiwari’s follower Professor Ram Prakash Dwivedi. “Ram Prakash Dwivedi had said in the application that around 4,000 people would attend the event. But according to our information, a huge crowd would have gathered at the venue. The event was cancelled on the ground that it could affect law and order… The venue does not have the space to accommodate a big crowd,” said Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Aryka Akhayui.
The administration’s move to cancel its permission has irked Jai Gurudev followers. Blaming the administration for taking the decision without any valid reasons, they claimed that while they have been preparing for the event for the last one month, the administration informed them at the last moment about the cancellation, leading to heavy financial losses. Banners and posters have also come up across the district.
When contacted, Ram Prakash Dwivedi, said: “We are surprised to hear that the administration cannot manage 4,000 people coming to take part in satsang. The administration has not given any valid reason. But if permission was cancelled following Saturday’s incident, it is wrong.”