Eighteen die in India stampede at home of Muslim spiritual leader

MUMBAI Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:47pm EST

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - At least 18 people died in a stampede in India's financial capital of Mumbai early on Saturday after thousands gathered to mourn the death of the 102-year-old leader of a Muslim sect, a city official and television reports said.

The stampede took place outside the home of Syedna Mohamed Burhanuddin, the spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, in a wealthy part of the city.

A large crowd of mourners was pressed against the gates of the house at the time, television channel CNN-IBN said, citing police. At least 50 people were injured.

The leader died on Friday and his body had been placed in his Malabar Hill home for people to pay their respects.

Several of the injured were released after treatment at nearby hospitals, said a city official who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Stampedes frequently happen at religious sites in India but they are not common in big cities such as Mumbai where there is a greater police presence to monitor the flow of people.

Last October, about 115 people were killed in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Clarence Fernandez)

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