The stampede took place when thousands of people gathered in front of the house of a businessman to receive free gifts and clothes on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

"We have so far recovered 23 bodies from the scene and sent several others with injuries to be treated at the Mymensingh Medical Hospital," said Kamrul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station.

The dead included mostly women and children, a local media report said. The doctors at the hospital said that the death toll could rise as many people are critically injured.

The police said the owner of the house was arrested. A three-member investigation team has been formed in this connection and asked to report on the findings within three days. No case has been filed so far.     

Around 40 people were killed in a similar stampede at a garment factory in the northern city Tangail in 2002.

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