Indian authorities have suspended six police and government officials following a stampede that claimed 121 lives last week, accusing them of 'negligence' in managing an event featuring a preacher. This incident, one of India's most severe stampedes in recent years, occurred when approximately 250,000 people gathered to hear the preacher, far exceeding the 80,000 people the authorities had authorized.

Preliminary findings from a panel investigating the incident on Tuesday placed the blame on the event organizers, stating they did not adhere to the conditions set for the gathering. 'The organizers obtained permission for the event by concealing facts,' the government of Uttar Pradesh stated, referencing the panel's findings. 'They failed to make adequate and smooth arrangements despite the unexpected large crowd, and did not comply with the conditions set by the local administration.'

In response, A.P. Singh, a lawyer for the preacher, denied any wrongdoing by the organizers, asserting they did not hide anything from the authorities. He suggested that the stampede was orchestrated by 'anti-social elements' he did not specify. Police have arrested nine individuals involved in organizing the event. The government noted that the panel had not ruled out the possibility of a major conspiracy behind the accident, requiring further investigation.

A senior district official in Hathras, where the incident occurred, had granted permission for the event without inspecting the venue, according to the state government. Local government and police officials did not take the event seriously and failed to inform senior officials about it, the government stated. 'They have been held responsible for negligence in performing their duties,' the statement added. The stampede occurred when devotees rushed towards the preacher's departing car, trampling each other in an attempt to receive his blessings and get a closer look at him.