KATHMANDU Reuter: Nearly 100 people have died in crowd panic at locked gates in Nepal’s National Soccer Stadium and this stunned Hindu kingdom on the roof of the world prepared traditional funeral pyres for the victims,

Thousands of spectators ran for cover after a freak hailstorm swept the stadium during a soccer match on Saturday but were trapped by locked exits which witnesses said police refused to open.

Authorities said at least 95 people died and 700 were injured in a pileup of frenzied crowds unable to leave the arena.

Doctors, blaming lack of medicine and trained personnel in this desperately poor and underdeveloped country, said more victims were bound to die.

They said the latest death toll could rise to 175 in the next 24 hours as many of the worst injured were likely to survive the night till Sunday.

Nepal’s biggest civilian disaster brought widespread shock and as the death toll mounted, so did the anger of the usually: placid people of Kathmandu.

Hundreds of mourner’s gathered around the hospitals where the dead lay waiting to be taken to the burning Ghats (cremation grounds) for the customary Hindu rites in the Himalayan nation,

‘As government ministers arrived to pay their respects, there were shouts of “police murdabad” (death to the police) and similar slogans against the sports council which runs the stadium, an imposing concrete structure towering over the low houses near Kathmandu’s Bagmati River.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 18, 1988