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India

Stampede Kills 36 Indian Pilgrims At World's Largest Human Gathering

BBC NEWS (UK), TIMES OF INDIA, HINDUSTAN TIMES (India)

Worldcrunch

ALLAHABAD – At least 36 pilgrims on their way back from the world’s largest religious festival in northern India have died in a stampede late Sunday.

The death toll may rise again, as dozens of other injured were in a critical condition after the stampede at the Allahabad railway station in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Tens of thousands of people were in the station waiting to board a train back home on the last day of the 55-day Kumbh Mela festival when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, triggering the chaos, the Hindustan Times reveals.

Witnesses have blamed police action for the stampede, accusing them of charging with batons when the crowd started moving toward the platform through a footbridge – claims that have been denied by the police who stated it was simply a case of overcrowding.

A record 30 million people (the world's largest gathering of humanity) were drawn to the festival to dip in the sacred waters of the Ganges.

Mohammad Azam Khan, the Uttar Pradesh government minister, resigned Monday, taking responsibility for the Allahabad stampede, according to The Times of India.

Meanwhile in neighboring Bangladesh, a bus carrying Muslim pilgrims who were also back from religious voyage to the Cox's Bazar district has fallen off a bridge south of the country’s capital, Dhaka, killing at least 16 people, BBC News reports.

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Society

Kleptomania, How A "Women's Pathology" Was Built On Gender And Class Bias

Between 1880 and 1930, there was a significant rise in thefts in department stores, mostly committed by women from the middle and upper classes. This situation brought with it the establishment of a new pathology: kleptomania. A century later, feminist historians have given new meaning to the practice as a protest against the social structures and oppressions of capitalism and patriarchy.

Photo of a hand in a pocket

A hand in a pocket

Julia Amigo

Kleptomania is defined as the malicious and curious propensity for theft. The legal language tends to specify that the stolen objects are not items of necessity; medically, it is explained as an uncontrollable impulse.

What seems clear is that kleptomania is a highly enigmatic condition and one of the few mental disorders that comes from the pathologization of a crime, which makes it possible to use it as a legal defense. It differs from the sporadic theft of clothing, accessories, or makeup (shoplifting) as the kleptomaniac's impulse is irresistible.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of the population suffers from kleptomania, being much more common among women (although determining exact numbers is very difficult).

The psychiatric disorders manual, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has included kleptomania since 1962. Previously, it had already received attention from, among others, Sigmund Freud. Like nymphomania or hysteria, kleptomania became an almost exclusively female diagnosis linked to the biology of women's bodies and an “inability” to resist uncontrollable desire.

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