At least 27 people died and several others injured in a stampede this morning over distribution of zakat in Mymensingh town.
Casualty toll may rise, our local correspondent reports quoting Abdur Rashid, senior assistant police superintendent of local Kotwali police.
The dead include 23 women and four children, Kamrul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kotwali police said. All the bodies were initially kept at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital. Later, the bodies were handed over to the families, OC Kamrul said.
- Compensation paid
- President, PM, Speaker express sympathy
- Probe body formed
- Case filed
- Allegations of beating up the poor
Eight people, including the zakat donor Md Shamim, were held in this connection, police official Abdur Rashid told The Daily Star.
The detainees were taken to Kotwali Police Station and Sub-Inspector Robiul Islam of the station filed a murder case against the eight around 6:15pm.
A three-member probe body, headed by Kotwali police ASP Abu Ahmed Al-Mamun, has been formed in this connection and asked to report on the findings within three days.
The incident took place around 5:00am today over distribution of zakat (donation for the poor ahead of Eid) on Atul Chakrabarty Road in town, police and witnesses said.
Over a thousand had gathered near the house of Md Shamim, a local businessman of chewing tobacco, since last night to collect zakat, locals and police said.
After Fazr prayers, his gates were opened for zakat distribution. In moments, hundreds were wolfing through the gates which triggered the stampede, locals said.
“He (Shamim) stages this show-off every year in the name of zakat,” a neighbour Abdul Karim alleged to The Daily Star. “About 1,500 people had gathered near his house to collect zakat today.”
Ambia Begum, 50, who had come to collect zakat, alleged to The Daily Star that workers of Shamim’s factory had swooped on them with batons. “They beat us up severely.”
Doctor Farhad Hossain, a physician at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital, said the reason of death was suffocation and stampede.
The eight people detained were taken to Kotwali Police Station. However, no case was filed over the incident until the filing of this report around 5:30pm.
Religious affairs ministry and the district administration have announced separate compensations of Tk 10,000 each for the victims’ families, ANM Faizul Haque, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Mymensingh Sadar, said.
The compensation money was distributed among the victim families around 2:00pm, reports our Mymensingh correspondent.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Speaker of the parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury expressed their sympathy to the victims’ family members.