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Indian death count in Mina rises to 14

The stampede in Mina near Mecca on Thursday has so far claimed 14 Indian lives. These deaths have been confirmed by the Haj Committee of India and by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who took to Twitter to give out the official confirmation.

The Indian casualty list with a majority of Gujaratis, is part of the 750 deaths so far reported by the Saudi authorities. The Indian death count is likely to go up. Haj Committee members from Delhi and Andhra Pradesh told The Hindu that the official response to the tragedy had been slow.

A Haj Committee member from Haryana gave a detailed account of the stampede as it unfolded.

“According to our information, it was an early morning stampede as two streams of pilgrims crashed against each other on a street which connects the spot of ‘stoning the devil’ in Mina,” said Munis Ahmed Ansari, who said that the number of pilgrims in Mecca this year had seen a jump and the resulting crowd stretched the abilities of the Saudi government to its extreme. The physical condition of the early morning crowd was worsened by the extreme summer temperature in Mecca, which sizzled at 46 degrees.

The pilgrimage this year, like every other year, had drawn top Muslim clerics of India, who are believed to be in Mecca and safe.

Maulana Mahmud Madani, the powerful leader of Jamiat Ulema E Hind, who is also a former member of the Rajya Sabha, has been travelling in Mecca, and is safe, said sources in his organisation. JUH is the largest organisation of ulemas in India, and is known to be influential in political circles. “We have learnt that Maulana Madani is trying to help the relief efforts of India in Mecca,” said advocate Shakil Ahmed Syed of JUH. The organisation is of the opinion that the best possible arrangements are usually made by the Saudi government. However, Haj Committee members said that concrete information about the ground situation was not available due to the poor handling of the crisis by the Saudi government. “We also know that the Indian authorities ensure the presence of doctors in Mecca for the welfare of Indian pilgrims. We hope that proper care and medical attention is being given to the Indian pilgrims in need,” Mr. Syed said.

While India has been prompt in responding to the crisis, Iran has given a political colour to the tragedy, demanding that Haj arrangements should be handed over to the Organisation of Islamic Countries.

As far as India is concerned, leading lights in the Hajj Committee believe that the focus should now shift to bringing the injured back to India and ensuring the safe return of the rest.

Here are some of the major haj-related incidents in Saudi Arabia.



2015

At least 310 people are killed and 450 injured in a stampede in Mina, on the outskirts of the holy city of Makkah. In the lead-up to haj, at least 111 people are killed and scores wounded when a crane collapses in bad weather, crashing onto the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest site.

2006

More than 360 pilgrims are killed in a stampede at the desert plain of Mina, near Makkah, where pilgrims carry out a symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone walls. The day before the haj began, an eight-story building being used as a hostel near the Grand Mosque in Makkah collapsed, killing at least 73 people.

2004

A crush of pilgrims at Mina kills 244 pilgrims and injures hundreds on the final day of the haj ceremonies.

2001

A stampede at Mina during the final day of the pilgrimage ceremonies kills 35 haj pilgrims.

1998

About 180 pilgrims are trampled to death in panic after several of them fell off an overpass during the final stoning ritual at Mina.

1997

At least 340 pilgrims are killed in a fire at the tent city of Mina as the blaze was aided by high winds. More than 1,500 were injured.

1994

Some 270 pilgrims are killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual at Mina.

1990

The worst haj-related tragedy claims the lives of 1,426 pilgrims in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Makkah.




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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 9:14:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/14-indians-dead-in-haj-stampede/article7688350.ece

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