UK & World News
India: Eighteen Dead In Mumbai Stampede
A stampede in India has left 18 people dead and nearly 50 injured.
The tragedy happened as a large crowd gathered in the city of Mumbai to pay their respects to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, a Muslim spiritual leader who died of a heart attack on Friday.
When the gates to the 102-year-old's home in the wealthy Malabar Hill area were closed at the end of his funeral procession, chaos broke out.
The crowds surged forward and many people were crushed near the gates with no means of escaping.
Police chief Satyapal Singh said: "Organisers had closed the gates. The crowd was so huge that people started suffocating, some fainted and then people began running and falling on each other in a panic."
He said there was a lapse in crowd control due to police and organisers failing to anticipate the high turnout for the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra, a sect of Shiite Islam.
One man wearing traditional Bohra Muslim clothing told Reuters: "There were a lot of people pouring in, and there was not much attention given by the government and the police, who should have been here and who should have managed things."
TV footage showed thousands wearing white scarves and skullcaps on the streets of India's financial capital on Saturday for the procession.
Several of those who were injured were released from hospital after treatment, said a city official quoted by Reuters.
Such disasters are common in India, where hundreds have been killed in the last decade as a result of stampedes at religious festivals and public events.
They are rarer in large cities such as Mumbai, where there are greater numbers of police to monitor the crowds.
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