As many as 16 women suffered injuries in a stampede during wheat-flour distribution in Gujranwala on Monday.
Some of them were injured in a roof collapse. They said they were waiting, on top of the roof of a one-room house next to the distribution camp at Nawab Chowk, for the distribution to end. Others suffered bruises when Aroop police charged them with batons to disperse the crowd as it pressed on.
The injured women were given first aid on the spot by a Rescue 1122 team.
The stampede began minutes after Gujranwala Commissioner Abdul Jabbar Shaheen and District Coordination Officer Muhammad Amin had left the camp. They said the wheat flour bags were bought by the money donated by some philanthropists.
There were 500 bags for which tokens were issued to nearly 2,000 families, according to the entries in the register maintained by officials in charge of the distribution.
DCO Muhammad Amin, however, denied that tokens were issued to more than 500 women. He said the others had come uninvited. “There is extreme poverty in some areas of Gujranwala. Probably that’s why such a large number showed up,” he said.
Some families were successful in getting hold of more than one bags. They said they had come from far off areas so it was fair that they should get more bags.
A large number of families, however, returned without a single bag. Talking to The Express Tribune, some of them blamed the district administration for the mess. “They shouldn’t have called us here if they didn’t have enough bags,” they said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.
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