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Tuesday July 23, 2024

11 killed in stampede for food handouts in Karachi

By Salis bin Perwaiz
April 01, 2023

By News Desk

KARACHI: At least 11 people died and several others were injured Friday in a stampede inside the premises of a factory at the Naurus intersection in Karachi’s SITE area, the latest incident in which people lost their lives while seeking free edibles.

Station House Officer (SHO) Zulfiqar Ali Bajwa of SITE-A police station said the incident took place on Friday afternoon in a garment factory situated near Naurus Chowrangi. Responding to information, police mobiles rushed to the spot where they found several people lying unconscious, said the SHO, adding that he immediately called the rescue teams and started the rescue operation and shifted the injured and unconscious people to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) and Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) for treatment.

During the course of investigation, it transpired that Abdul Khalique, the owner of a garment factory, had arranged a ration distribution camp for his factory workers, an yearly practice in the month of Ramazan. The owner failed to inform the local police station about the activity despite the government orders stating that the organizers of such activities shall first inform the local police station, so that precautionary measures are adopted to avert any stampede, said SHO Bajwa.

As per preliminary investigation, a large number of people, especially women along with their children, gathered outside the factory for receiving ration after the Friday prayers. In the absence of safety protocols, people haphazardly jostled for ration bags. Some women accidently jumped over a main water pipeline, which broke and water started gushing out. Given the situation, people ran amok to secure their lives. However, during the stampede 11 lives were lost as per the initial reports. The deceased were identified as Waseem, s/o Asif, 10-12 years old, Saad Umar, 7, Ume-e-Hani, d/o Irshad, 7-8, Khursheeda, w/o Zafar, 40-45, Abida, w/o Rashid, 40, Sonia, w/o Saeed, 40-45, Saeeda Zadi, w/o Umar, 40-45, Naseema, w/o Shahid, 40-50, Wahida, w/o Fazal, 40. Two people remained unidentified till the filing of the report. Besides, at least five people were injured, who were identified as Yasmeena, w/o Jori, 40, Malaika, d/o Shahid, 20, Moduol, w/o Saeed Zada, 35, Zahida, w/o Rafiq, 40, and Nazeera, w/o Sudhir, 45.

Police said that they have detained at least seven people for showing negligence and registered an FIR against them. Superintendent of Police (SP) Muhammad Mughees Hashmi, speaking to journalists, said that the area police confirmed that the incident took place because of a stampede, adding the local police station was not informed prior to the distribution. The SP said that seven people had been arrested so far and an investigation has been initiated. He added that more than 400 people had gathered at the location when the stampede took place.

Updating about the number of deceased individuals, Edhi sources said that nine bodies were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, while two were taken to the Civil Hospital.All deceased, according to the Edhi sources, brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital were women among which three were young girls. The police said that 15 injured were shifted to both hospitals. Taking notice of the incident, Governor Sindh Kamran Tessori sought a report from the Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Iqbal Memon. The governor also expressed grief over the loss of precious lives in the incident.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the stampede and sought a report from the commissioner. “Administration should duly report about distribution of ration and welfare efforts,” CM Murad said. Meanwhile, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said the CM Sindh had announced financial compensation for the victims who had died and injured in the incident. The bereaved families that lost their near and dear ones in the tragedy would be given Rs500,000 each while those who sustained injuries in the tragedy would be given Rs100,000 each.

Meanwhile, the Sindh chief secretary Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput has ordered an inquiry over the stampede during distribution of ration in a private company. He also sought a report from the commissioner Karachi and secretary industries. He directed to take action against those responsible for the incident. The chief secretary Sindh directed the health secretary to declare emergency in hospitals and provide the best medical facilities to the injured.