Indian Death Toll in Haj Stampede Rises to 45; 18 Pakistanis Among Victims


The Saudi authorities have put the total toll from the Haj stampede at 769. AP photo.
The Saudi authorities have put the total toll from the Haj stampede at 769. AP photo.


JEDDAH — The number of Indians killed in the Haj stampede rose to 45 on Monday as authorities identified 10 more bodies among the victims of the worst tragedy in 25 years to hit the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, reported Press Trust of India.

Haj Consulate in Jeddah on Monday said the deceased included three pilgrims from West Bengal and two each from Kerala and Jharkhand and one each from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

Earlier, 13 more bodies were identified among the dead on Sunday raising the death toll to 35. Saudi authorities have put the total death toll from the stampede during Haj to 769. The number of injured stands at 934. At least 13 Indians were among those injured.

18 Pakistani Pilgrims Die in Mina Stampede

Sarwari Begum shows a picture of her daughter Bushra Khalique in Karachi.
Bushra has been missing since the Mina stampede. AP photo
A top Pakistani Hajj official in Saudi Arabia on Sunday confirmed the death of 18 Pakistanis who were crushed in a stampede during the annual religious pilgrimage.
The official, Abu Ahmed Akif, said at least 20 Pakistani pilgrims were also injured in Thursday’s tragedy near the holy city of Makkah; at least 769 people from different countries died in the incident. Akif told The Associated Press that they were still tracking down many pilgrims who remained missing, but did not say how many were missing.
Confusion has persisted about exact death toll among Pakistanis in Thursday’s incident, with the family of some pilgrims saying they were unable to contact their relatives. That confusion has fueled rumors that the actual death toll was much higher than reported.
On Sunday, the Pakistani ambassador in Saudi Arabia dismissed rumors that as many as 200 Pakistanis had died. “There is no truth in these reports,” Manzoor ul Haq told state-run Pakistan Television. Pakistani officials earlier said many of those reported missing earlier have been accounted for, some in hospitals where they were treated for injuries.
King Salman Orders Probe

King Salman has ordered the formation of a committee to probe the deadly incident during the five-day pilgrimage in which around two million people from over 180 countries took part. From India, 1.5 lakh pilgrims performed Haj.

Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in a lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable.

The stampede broke out after two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other from different directions at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina for symbolic stoning of the devil. It was the second major accident this year for pilgrims, after a construction crane collapsed on September 11 at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing over 100 people, including 11 Indians.


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