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30 Die in Bangladesh Stampede - 2002-12-01

In northwestern Bangladesh, at least 30 people have been killed and scores injured in a stampede that occurred as a large crowd waited to receive Ramadan gifts. Many of the victims were women and children.

Police said the tragedy occurred in the town of Gaibandha, nearly 200 kilometers north of the capital Dhaka.

Thousands of people had been waiting for hours for the distribution of gifts from a wealthy businessman, who had promised to give away presents ahead of the Muslim Eid-al-Fitr holiday, which takes place later this week.

The crowd surged forward when the gates were opened to distribute the gifts. Many people were crushed to death or seriously injured.

Most of the people in the crowd were women who were wives of rickshaw pullers and farm workers. They had gone to gather the gifts accompanied by their children.

Rich Muslims often distribute gifts and give donations to the poor at the end of Ramadan, which concludes later this week with the celebration of the Eid festival.