India stampede kills 18

Last updated 00:00 19/01/2014

Relevant offers

Asia

Bangladesh fire kills at least 13 people in city market Judicial review into Bali Nine pair 'would not stop executions' MH370: Grieving wife appalled by 'bag of tricks' Malaysia declares MH370 an accident, airline to proceed with compensation Vigilantes take on human traffickers Fury as MH370 disappearance declared 'accident' AirAsia pilots disabled computers before crash Last legal push to save Bali Nine pair Chinese netizens squirm as party tightens grip on Internet Death penalty charges likely for NZer facing Bali drug charges

A pre-dawn stampede killed 18 people as tens of thousands of people gathered to mourn the death of a Muslim spiritual leader in India's Mumbai, police said.

At least 40 other people were injured in the stampede when mourners thronged the home of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, the head of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satya Pal Singh said.

Burhanuddin died Friday at the age of 102.

Thousands of white-clad mourners had thronged the streets of Malabar Hill, an upmarket neighborhood in south Mumbai.

Many were wailing and crying as they inched forward through the narrow road.

Singh said the stampede occurred when the gates leading to the spiritual leader's house were closed at about 1 am.

The crowds surged forward, with many people getting crushed near the gates and with no way to escape.

Singh acknowledged that crowd management around the Syedna's home was poor and said police at the scene were badly outnumbered by the huge number of mourners.

"We didn't think the crowd would be so great," Singh said.

"Also, it's an emotional occasion when police cannot take harsh measures to push back the crowd."

The Syedna had succeeded his father in 1965 and led the community for nearly five decades. He was well known as a promoter of education and spiritual values in his community.

Tens of thousands of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims from all over India and several other countries headed to Mumbai for his funeral later Saturday.

Across Mumbai, shops and businesses owned by Bohra Muslims were closed Saturday in homage to their leader.

Deadly stampedes are fairly common during India's often-chaotic religious gatherings and festivals, where large crowds gather in small areas with few safety or crowd control measures.

In October, more than 110 people were killed in a stampede at a Hindu festival in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

More than 220 people were killed in a 2008 stampede at the Chamunda Devi Hindu temple inside Jodhpur's picturesque Mehrangarh Fort

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content