DHAKA, BANGLADESH (CNN) – A rush to receive donated clothes resulted in a stampede in central Bangladesh that killed at least 20 people on Friday, police said.
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.
Farhad Hossain, at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital, confirmed that 23 bodies were in the hospital and said the cause of death was suffocation and stampede.
There were too many people to collect the aid which triggered the stampede, police added. “Most of the dead are poor and emaciated women”, Mymensingh police chief Moinul Haque said.
Bangladeshi relatives react as they sit near the bodies of some of those killed in a stampede at a charity distribution event in Mymensingh on July 10, 2015.
Ambia Begum, 45, went with seven female relatives at dawn.
The factory’s owner and six other people have been arrested. The businessman did not request a police presence at his house for the distribution.
She also alleged that the businessman stages this show every year in the name of zakat.
“They beat us up severely”, she said.
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.