Not less than 23 people have lost their lives and 50 injured in a stampede during a rush to receive donated clothes in Mymensingh city in northern Bangladesh.
According to local reports, more than 1,500 people gathered outside the gates of the tobacco factory before dawn after the owners announced that they would be giving out free clothing as ‘Zarat’, an act of charity.
The stampede occurred when many people tried to force their way in through a small gate.
‘Zarat’ is a performance of the faithful Muslims usually practiced as the holy month of Ramadan draws to an end. It often comes in the form of providing clothing or money to the needy.
Reports has it that the Police have detained seven people, including the owner of the factory.
Speaking with journalists, an injured woman said “The moment the door opened, all the people all together rushed through the gate.
“Many fell on the ground and others ran over them, and they died.”
Mymensingh police officer, Moinul Haque told AFP that “Most of the dead are poor and emaciated women.”
“We have found 23 bodies, and the number will increase as many of the bodies were taken from the spot by their family members.” He said.
Recall that 40 people were killed in a similar stampede at a garment factory in the northern city Tangail in 2002.
Factory safety has been a major issue in Bangladesh since the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing manufacturing complex in April 2013 that left more than 1,100 people dead, making it one of the worst industrial accidents in history.