More than 20 people were killed and 50 injured after a stampede broke out at a traditional charity giveaway. Police said they still do not have a final body count.
More than 20 people died in Bangladesh when a crowd of impoverished people, waiting for a clothing giveaway outside a local factory, broke through a small gate and stampeded to reach their hand outs in the town of Mymensingh, around 70 miles (115 km) to the north of Dhaka.
Local media reported around 1,500 people were waiting outside a gate before 5:00 a.m. for a local factory owner to hand out clothes in a traditional charity donation made at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
At around 5:00 a.m. local time (2300 UTC/GMT), after morning prayers, the small gates opened and the crowd rushed forward through the narrow opening, resulting in at least two children and 21 women killed, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
"We have so far recovered 23 bodies. Most of the dead are poor and emaciated women," Mymensingh police chief Moinul Haque told AFP.
"The street was very narrow, and the gate to the house was somewhat blocked. People rushed into the area, and that's how the tragedy occurred," he said.
Senior police officer Kamrul Islam said the factory owner and six others were arrested for failing to ensure public safety. Islam also said the death toll was likely to rise, as "scores" of people were also injured, and "some people had taken the bodies of their relatives before police arrived at the scene."
The factory owner, Shamin Talukder, manufactures chewing tobacco, and was known for handing out clothes approaching the end of Ramadan, local police said.
This is the latest of several stampedes that have occurred in southeast Asia surrounding charity handouts, called "zakat," that occur towards the end of Ramadan. In 2002 around 40 people were killed in Tangail, Bangladesh in stampede at a garment factory.
mes/msh (AFP, AP,dpa,EFE)