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Haj stampede: Death toll of Indians killed rises to 22

Mina: The death toll of Indian pilgrims in the horrific stampede during Haj rose to 22 today as Saudi Arabia grappled to come to terms with the horrific tragedy that has claimed 769 lives."The number
PTI September 26, 2015 22:18 IST
PTI

Mina: The death toll of Indian pilgrims in the horrific stampede during Haj rose to 22 today as Saudi Arabia grappled to come to terms with the horrific tragedy that has claimed 769 lives.

"The number of Indian lives lost in Haj stampede has now risen to 22. Some more bodies are to be identified," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted tonight.

"We are facilitating visits of relatives of missing pilgrims and tour operators to the complex for identification," she said.

Earlier, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "Our officials on the ground in Mecca have been working continuously to ascertain information and reach out to family members of missing pilgrims."

Among those killed, 11 were from Gujarat, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Telangana, Kerala, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Four persons, who were found among the dead, have been identified as -- Rasul Ali from Jharkhand, Moinuddin from Uttar Pradesh, Hafijabahen Satarsha Diwan from Gujarat and Syed Abdul Hussain from Gujarat.

The death toll from the stampede during Haj has risen to 769, the Saudi Health Minister said today.

Khaled al-Falih also told reporters the number of injured had risen to 934. At least 13 Indians were also among those injured.

As Muslim pilgrims sombrely resumed the final rites of Haj yesterday, Saudi Arabia's King Salman ordered a safety review and a "revision" of the Haj organisation.

Leading the criticism against Saudi Arabia, its regional rival Iran expressed indignation at the deaths of 131 of its nationals at the world's largest annual gathering of people.

Read Also: Those responsible for Mina tragedy must be held accountable

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York questioned whether the Saudi government could be trusted with the responsibility of overseeing the Haj.

Al-Falih said the stampede "was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities."

King Salman ordered the formation of a committee to probe the incident during the five-day pilgrimage in which around two million people from more than 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, Islam's holiest site, killing over 100 people, including many foreigners.