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36 die in Bangla Id treat stampede

Dhaka, Dec. 1 (Reuters): A stampede killed at least 36 people in northern Bangladesh today, most of them women and children, police said.

Several hundred poor people had been trying to force their way into the grounds of a rich businessman who was giving away clothes and money ahead of the Muslim Id-ul-Fitr festival, a local journalist quoted a Red Crescent official as saying.

A wall and an iron gate collapsed, triggering the stampede. “Police and relatives of the victims recovered 36 bodies and took 15 others to hospital after the incident,” police sub-inspector Golam Minhaz said by telephone from Gaibandha, the scene of the disaster. Gaibandha is a town 335 km north of Dhaka.

Police said two people from the businessman’s household had been arrested but gave no details.

Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, who is visiting Saudi Arabia, expressed deep shock over the loss of life, sent her condolences to the victims’ families and ordered an investigation, officials said.

Gifts from rich to poor are traditional ahead of the Id festival, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan and will be celebrated later this week.

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