Riyadh: Indian among 717 killed in Haj stampede, worst tragedy in 25 years

Riyadh, Sep 24 (IANS) An Indian woman from Telangana was among the 717 people killed on Thursday in a horrific Haj stampede in Saudi Arabia, the worst tragedy to hit the world’s holiest Muslim pilgrimage in 25 years.

Another Indian, from Lakshadweep, was among the 805 pilgrims injured in the disaster that took place on the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.

The incident took place near Mina and about five kilometres from Makkah, the Saudi Civil Defence said.

Indian leaders expressed distress over the deaths and injuries as it emerged that Bibi Jaan, an elderly resident of Hyderabad, had died and an unidentified man from Lakshadweep had been injured in the tragedy.

With some 136,000 pilgrims from India, the Indian government said it was closely monitoring the situation.

Thursday’s stampede took place barely two weeks after a massive crane fell in Makkah’s grand mosque, killing over 100 people and injuring over 200. Eleven of the dead were Indians.

This was also highest number of deaths after 1990 when 1,400 people were killed in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel.

It was not clear what caused the stampede on Thursday in the pilgrimage that draws millions from around the world and which had been incident free for nearly a decade.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported that the head of the Central Haj Committee, Prince Khalid al-Faisal, had blamed the stampede on “some pilgrims with African nationalities”.

But the head of Iran’s Haj organization, Said Ohadi, told IRNA news agency that two routes to the Jamarat Pillars had been inexplicably closed by the Saudi authorities, resulting in a build-up of pilgrims.

Thursday’s ritual was taking place at a five-storey structure known as the Jamarat Bridge, which cost more than $1 billion to build and was used during earlier pilgrimages, media reports said.

Almost one kilometre long, it allows 300,000 pilgrims an hour to carry out the ritual.

Saudi security forces and rescuers poured into the disaster site within minutes after the tragedy. But by then hundreds were dead on the streets, and the injured were in agony and distress.

More than 4,000 rescue workers and over 200 emergency vehicles worked feverishly to help the wounded and transport the dead.

The injured cried out in agony as survivors tried to help the wounded pilgrims. Many of the injured suffered bruises and lacerations.

Photographs released by the Saudi Civil Defence showed some pilgrims seated amid a sea of bodies, many bare chested and clearly from all parts of the world.

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Rescuers rushed the injured on stretchers to hospitals. Saudi authorities, overwhelmed by what had happened, quickly updated the death toll.

A Haj pilgrim from Lakshadweep was among the injured, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said in Thiruvananthapuram. He did not identify the pilgrim by name or gender.

About two million Muslims are taking part in this year’s Haj pilgrimage, which began on Tuesday.

There were conflicting reports on where Thursday’s stampede took place.

The Saudi Civil Defense initially said the incident happened amid a rush at the stoning as part of Haj rituals. Muslim pilgrims throw stones on a wall representing the devil.

Al Jazeera, however, said the deaths took place on a street between pilgrim camps.

“The street is named Street 204. This stampede did not happen during the stoning of the devil ritual,” an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

The Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has seen several disasters that have claimed 2,788 lives in the past 25 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now in the US, condoled the loss of lives. “Distressing news from Mecca. Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede. Condolences to families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.”

Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed shock and distress.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said: “Prayers with the injured and with the loved ones of the deceased.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal added: “Terrible tragedy. Prayers for all.”

Dubai: 700 Dead, Injured in Stampede Near Mecca During Haj

Dubai (Agencies): At least 700 pilgrims were killed in a stampede on Thursday at Mina outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where some two million people are performing the annual haj pilgrimage.

Over 800 others were injured in the crush on Street 204 of the camp city at Mina, a few km from Mecca where pilgrims from across the world stay for several days during the last days of Haj.

The stampede took place during the stoning ceremony, said officials.

Street 204 is one of the two main arteries leading through the camp at Mina to Jamarat, where pilgrims throw pebbles at a wall representing Satan in a symbolic “stoning of the devil” that marks the last day of the event.

Over one lakh Indians are believed to be among the millions in Mina on Thursday marking Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, when Muslims slaughter sheep. It has traditionally been the most dangerous day of haj because vast numbers of pilgrims attempt to perform rituals at the same time in a single location.

Images on television and social media showed pilgrims on stretchers and emergency workers at the site. More than 4,000 rescue workers and over 200 emergency vehicles are working to help the wounded.

“Work is underway to separate large groups of people and direct pilgrims to alternative routes,” the Saudi Civil Defence tweeted.

This is the second major tragedy at Mecca this month after over 100 people were killed on September 18 when a construction crane crashed on the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.

The pilgrimage, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, has been prone to disasters in the past, mainly from stampedes. Hundreds died in a stampede in Mina during the stoning ritual in 2006.

Helpline numbers released by Government of India: 00966125458000, 00966125496000 Toll free number for pilgrims: 8002477786

Mina: 453 dead, 2 Indians among 730 injured in Haj stampede in Saudi

Mina (PTI): At least 453 people were killed and 730 others, including two Indians, injured today in a stampede during the Haj at Mina, near the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the worst incident in nearly a decade to hit the annual pilgrimage that reached its climax.

The tragedy occurred due to a sudden rush of the pilgrims on Street 204 in Mina where they perform a symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone walls.

Over two million pilgrims, including more than 1.5 lakh Indians, are performing the Haj this year.

Officials at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah have said two Indian pilgrims from Assam were injured in the tragedy.

The Saudi civil defence authority said 453 people from different nationalities have died in the tragedy.

The incident comes days after a massive crane collapse in Mecca Grand Mosque killed 115 people, including 11 Indians.

Rescue operations were underway after the stampede in Mina.
Eyewitnesses said the stampede happened at the entrance of the Jamarat bridge near Street 204, not inside of the area where the stoning pillars are.

Two teams of medical screening have been set up at the site of the incident.
“In my camp there were about 400 pilgrims. All of them are safe. But I am trying to make some calls and ascertain from other people,” said Abid Rasool Khan, Chairman Minorities Panel, Andhra Pradesh.

The civil defence authority said its teams on the ground are leading pilgrims to safer routes away from the stampede site through alternate routes.

It said 4,000 people were taking part in rescue efforts, along with 220 ambulances.

TV footage from the incident site showed the ground strewn with injured people. Women and old men were screaming.

At least 730 pilgrims have been injured in today’s stampede.
Mina has in the past been the site of major stampedes that have killed hundreds of people.

At least 51 Indians were among 364 pilgrims killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina in 2006.

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

100 killed in Makkah stampede

Makkah, Sep 24 : As many as 100 people were killed on Thursday in a stampede during Haj outside Saudi Arabia’s Makkah city, a media report said.

At least 390 people were injured in the “crush”, reported Xinhua citing Saudi-owned state TV.

100 pilgrims killed near Mecca during haj

Dubai, Reuters: At least 100 pilgrims were killed on Thursday in a crush at Mina, outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where some two million people are performing the annual haj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia’s al-Ekhbariya television reported.

The news channel also cited civil defense officials as saying that 390 people were injured in the incident.

Over 150 killed in Haj stampede (Lead)

Makkah (IANS) At least 150 people were killed on Thursday in a stampede during the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabian holy city of Mina near Makkah, authorities said.

As many as 400 people were injured in the tragedy, about five kilometres from Makkah, reported Xinhua citing the Saudi Civil Defense.

Rescue operations were on, BBC reported. The stampede occurred on the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.

TV visuals showed rescuers taking away the injured, some in wheelchairs.

About two million Muslims are taking part in this year’s Haj pilgrimage, which began on Tuesday. Some 136,020 pilgrims are from India.

The stampede took place barely two weeks after a massive crane fell in Makkah’s grand mosque, killing over 100 people and injuring over 200. Eleven of the dead were Indians in the September 11 tragedy.

220 killed in Haj stampede, one Indian injured (Second Lead)

Riyadh (IANS) At least 220 people were killed on Thursday in a stampede during the Haj pilgrimage in the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mina near Makkah, authorities said. One Indian pilgrim was injured.

As many as 450 people were injured in the tragedy, about five kilometres from Makkah, the Saudi Civil Defence authorities said.

“The number of cases rising to 450 wounded and 220 deaths,” said a tweet in Arabic from the official account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense.

More than 4,000 rescue workers and over 200 emergency vehicles were at the scene, Saudi officials said.

A Haj pilgrim from Lakshadweep was among the injured, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told the media in Thiruvananthapuram.

Photographs posted on the Saudi Civil Defence Twitter handle showed victims lying on stretchers, surrounded by rescue workers.

BBC reported that rescue operations were on. The stampede occurred on the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.

TV visuals showed rescuers taking away the injured, some in wheel chairs. Many of the injured had suffered bruises and lacerations on their bodies.

The injured cried out in agony as survivors tried to help the wounded pilgrims.

About two million Muslims are taking part in this year’s Haj pilgrimage, which began on Tuesday. Some 136,020 pilgrims are from India.

The stampede took place barely two weeks after a massive crane fell in Makkah’s grand mosque, killing over 100 people and injuring over 200. Eleven of the dead in the September 11 tragedy were Indians.

The worst Haj tragedy took place in 1990 when 1,400 people were killed in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel.

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There were conflicting reports on where Thursday’s stampede took place.

Xinhua cited the Saudi Civil Defense as saying that the incident happened amid a rush of the stoning as part of Haj rituals. Muslim pilgrims throw stones on a wall representing devil.

Al Jazeera, however, said the deaths took place on a street between pilgrim camps.

“The street is named Street 204. This stampede did not happen during the stoning of the devil ritual,” an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

In India, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah mourned the deaths of Haj pilgrims.

“Tragic news coming out of Mecca,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister tweeted. “Prayers with the injured and with the loved ones of the deceased.”

453 killed in Haj tragedy

Riyadh, Sep 24 (IANS) At least 453 people were killed and 719 injured in a stampede on Thursday during the Haj pilgrimage in the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mina, authorities said.

The number of those injured has risen to 719 and 453 people have died, tweeted the official account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense.

1 Comment

  1. 717 People dead and the same number injured and “It was not clear what caused the stampede” ?

    It is sad that so many innocent lives are lost year after year, and the government as always blames the pilgrims.

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