BENGALURU:Two senior citizens, including a woman, who had queued up to receive tokens for charity, died in a stampede outside a hall in Mittaganahalli near Bagaluru on Thursday morning. The victims are Anwar Pasha, 75, of Chittor in Andhra Pradesh, and Rehmathunnisa, 65, of Chikkaballapur.
Distribution of tokens for free ration during Ramzan was organised by a businessman Syed Asif alias Yusuf, who has conducted similar charity events in the past. Around 5,000 people had gathered to avail the tokens which would have enabled them to receive provisions worth `2,000, including rice, oil and pulses, in Shivajinagar a month before Ramzan. People began to gather outside the hall on Wednesday afternoon, with many coming even from Andhra Pradesh. The distribution began early on Thursday.
Bagaluru police said Asif, 65, did not take police permission to hold a gathering at the hall and failed to provide safety measures. Asif has been arrested for negligence. Choultry staff too have been picked up for questioning.
Police had to resort to mild caning to disperse the mob. Witnesses said the queue was more than a kilometre long. When token distribution began, people pushed each other to collect it. Rehmathunnisa and Pasha were crushed in the resulting stampede. Though they were rushed to a hospital, they were declared brought dead, police said.
No lessons learnt from past tragedy
A similar stampede during a token distribution conducted by Syed Asif at AKP convention hall in Shivajinagar last September led to the death of a woman. Zeenat Unnisa, 40, died in the stampede while 15 others were injured when they went there to collect charity coupons for Ramzan.