Published On : Thu, Sep 24th, 2015

Stampede in Holy City Mecca: death claims around 450; about 21 Indians among 750 injured

Stampede occurred as several pilgrims fainted due to 50 degree celsius temperature

Mumbai/ Nagpur: In the stampede that occurred on Thursday, Sept 24, around 450 Haj pilgrims are reported to have died and about 750 have been injured including about 21 Indians, said the media reports, adding that Maharashtra Haj Committee officials have issued an advisory to all Indian pilgrims to see that no senior citizens be allowed to participate in the stone-throwing ritual at the pillar in the vicinity of Mina. The advisory further said, the Haj Committee has urged the healthy or young members of the pilgrim-families to volunteer themselves to perform the ritual (stone-throwing) on behalf their elder family members.

Chairman, Maharashtra Haj Committee, Haji Inbrahim Sheikh informed that some Indians had been reported as injured during stampede which started at 9 am as per local time of Saudi Arabia while tee official data was still awaited as to how many Indiand were injured or killed, adding that 1.4 lakh Indian Muslims were part of pilgrimage on Thursday.

As per the details furnished by Maharashtra Haj Committee member, Zubair Sheikh, to the media, as many as 9,400 Muslims from Maharashtra  have gone for Haj this year. He said that the stampede occurred during a vital part of ritual, that is, stole pelting at the ‘pillar’ which is the symbol of Satan (devil). This ritual is performed on the last day of Haj, he added, explaining further, “After performing the morning Fajr prayers, pilgrims had gone to perform the ritual of throwing stones at the pillar. In the rush, several fainted as the temperatures soared to 50 degree Celsius and others were injured as stones missed their mark and instead hit them. It created a pandemonium.”

Ibrahim Sheikh, who is heading a group of Indian pilgrims in Mecca said that several pilgrims have been fainting due to the heat. The Haj Committee has now requested elderly from refraining from personally visiting the grounds of Mina in an attempt to avoid further casualties. “We have asked them to send someone on their behalf for the ritual,” Ibrahim added.

On Wednesday, pilgrims had visited the Mount Arafat, where Prophet Mohammad is said to have given his last sermon, following which a visit to Muzdalifah was made to collect the pebbles for throwing at the pillar in Mina. he informed.