Around 20,000 people gathered in front of a madrassa playground to collect zakat.
At least 10 women have been killed and several others injured in a stampede and due to heatstroke while collecting zakat clothes in Satkania upazila of Chattogram district on Monday.
Chattogram district’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) Elius Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune: “The tragic incident took place in front of a madrasa playground in Nolua union around 10:30am.”
He visited the spot soon after the incident took place.
The DC said: “I visited the spot and could not withstand the scorching heat.
“I am assuming that both heatstroke and stampede are responsible for the deaths.”
He said around 20,000 people had gathered in front of a madrasa playground to collect saris and cash money amounting to Tk1,000.
The DC, however, could not confirm the number of injured in the incident.
Replying to a query about mismanagement, DC Elius said the administration has already formed a five-member committee to probe into the incident. A Chattogram additional district magistrate will lead the probe committee.
Satkania Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mobarak Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune that nine women died on the spot while the other died on the way to hospital.
Renowned businessman and proprietor of Kabir Steel Re-Rolling Mills Ltd (KSRM) owner Md Shahjahan, was distributing zakat items among the destitute.
The UNO said: “We have also ordered to suspend the distribution process.”
Subsequently, in a press statement from KSRM, the company said the tragedy was the result of overcrowding, suffocation and heatstrokes.
The statement also said a 200-member security team of the company was present at the venue along with an additional 100 members of the police – including policewomen.
The company also kept a three-person medical team and an ambulance on standby in case of emergency. When a number people began to collapse due to heat exhaustion, KSRM immediately took them local clinics.
KSRM will pay a compensation of Tk3 lakh to the families of the deceased, bear the medical costs of those infirmed, and provide jobs to any able and willing family members of the deceased, the statement added.