Thursday, January 24, 2019 | ePaper

Charitable work must not be a careless public show: Sins committed

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WE have no such words to express our deep shock at the death of 10 women and children in a stampede during zakat distribution on behalf of KSRM Group in Satkania upazila of Chattogram district on Monday. At least 25 others were also injured at that time. Reports suggest that nearly 20,000 people were gathered in front of a madrassa playground to collect zakat clothes. Officer-in Charge of Satkania Police Station said that the victims lost their lives due to a stampede and heat stroke. Some witnesses alleged that the workers of KSRM Group clubbed them to "control" the crowd, further aggravating the situation. However, SP and other senior government officials visited the spot after the incident.
It is not the first incident of this type in the country. A few months ago about 10 people were killed in Chattogram in a stampede while thousands rushed to a community centre to take food after former Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury's post-funeral rites. Incidents of fatal stampedes have become a common phenomenon in the recent years, particularly during Ramzan and ahead of Eid. We are unable to understand why no precautionary measures for crowd control were taken by the donors or by the police to ensure the safety of those receiving the zakat. Given that 20,000 people had already been waiting before the zakat distribution started, there was ample opportunity for the KSRM Group to devise appropriate measures.
In fact, the police, too, cannot avoid its responsibilities by claiming they hadn't been informed. We don't believe that, they were unaware of the huge numbers of people that had gathered that day. So, it's a big question why the police had not taken pro-active steps to manage the crowd? If there was proper crowd management this catastrophe may well have been averted. We condemn the neglectful attitude of the local administration to the marginal-income group people who usually rush to rich men's doors for getting zakat or donation. With three days still to go before Ramzan, we urge the authorities, as well as donation providers, to ensure that charitable events are not turned into tragedies.
Our view is clear, charitable work must not be a careless public show. Sins have been committed for the loss of lives.

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