98 Indians Among Hundreds Dead During Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca: MEA

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According to reports, more than 900 pilgrims have died this year during Haj that has been marked by heat waves.

As many as 98 Indians are among hundreds of pilgrims who have died during the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca amid the scorching heat.

Addressing a press briefing, MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said 175,000 Indian citizens are already on Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, of which 98 have died, reported The Indian Express.

He added that the deaths have happened on account of natural causes, chronic illnesses, and also old age.

“Every year a large number of pilgrims from India attend Haj, and some of them unfortunately pass away during the Haj period. This year, 175000 Indian pilgrims visited Makkah for Haj,” Jaiswal said

“The Haj period is from May 9 to July 22. This year, till now, 98 deaths have been reported. The deaths have been due to natural causes, chronic illnesses, and old age,” he added.

Last year, the number of of Indians who died during Hajj was 187, he said.

According to reports, more than 900 pilgrims have died this year during Haj that has been marked by heat waves. Some of the deaths have reportedly been due to heat-related illnesses as temperatures crossed over 50 degree Celsius in Mecca.

While Saudi Arabia has not officially released the number of deaths, several countries have said some of their pilgrims died due to the heat that swept across the holy sites at Mecca, including Jordan and Tunisia, an AP report said.

The Hajj, an annual pilgrimage, began last week and annually millions of Muslims head to Mecca to perform religious rites as taught by the Prophet Mohammad to his followers 14 centuries ago. The mass gathering – once-in-a-lifetime duty for able-bodied Muslims ended on Wednesday.

This year, more than 1.83 million Muslims performed the Hajj including more than 1.6 million pilgrims from 22 countries and around 222,000 Saudi citizens and residents, AP reported citing Saudi Hajj authorities.

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