Two women were killed and ten injured critically in a stampede as thousands of destitute people crowded for receiving zakat. Police rushed to the spot and detained eight staffs and officials. Locals protested the deaths at the police station afterwards. Photo: Star
At least two women were killed and ten injured critically in a stampede as thousands of destitute people crowded for receiving zakat (give away) goods at a private company’s office on Katpatti road in Barisal town this morning.
Firoza Begum, 50, wife of Fazle Ali from Ganakatty village, and Nupur Begum, 35, wife of Mohan Mia from Rasulpur village in Sadar upazila of the district died in the incident, our Barisal correspondent reports quoting police.
On information, police rushed to the spot and detained eight staffs and officials of the company and seized its zakat goods including 1000 pieces of saris, said Kabir Hossain, second officer at the Barisal Katwali Model Police Station.
The arrestees are: Abu Saleh, manager cash, Shah Newaze Khan, warehouse in-charge, Moazzem Hossain, security in-charge, Rahat sales officer, Abdul Halim messenger, two supporting staff Siraj and Liton and driver Abdul Quium.
Locals said the incident took place around 9:30am when a large crowd of people tried to enter the head office of Khan and Son's Company to collect the zakat goods.
A sudden rush of zakad goods seekers was created when the company’s employees opened the main gate to distribute the goods. Some 20 people fell under the crowd when they tried to enter the gate hurriedly.
The injured were taken to the Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared Firoza and Nupur dead.
Abdur Rab Shahin, executive director of the company, admitted that the incident took place because of their mismanagement in the distribution.
The mismanagement occurred as the number of people seeking the goods was beyond expectation, he said.
Agitated people tried to besiege the Barisal Katwali Model Police Station, around 30 feet from the company’s office, in protest against incident, said Kabir Hossain, second officer at the police station.
Additional police forces were deployed instantly to prevent any anarchical situation, he said.
Soheb Ahmed, deputy commissioner of Barisal Metropolitan Police, said the authorities of the company did not inform police about the huge gathering.
“They had not sought any help from us to distribute the zakat goods among the destitute in a peaceful manner," he said.