At least four Indians were among the hundreds killed in the stampede at Mina valley on Thursday during the haj pilgrimage, consulate officials in Saudi Arabia said.
The four Indians killed in the tragedy during the symbolic stoning of the devil, included a woman and a volunteer, Indian officials in Jeddah said. Two Indians were also injured.
Among the Indians killed was man from Kerala identified as Mohammed from Kodungaloor in Thrissur district, Kerala’s rural development and non resident Keralite affairs (NORKA) K C Joseph said.
The deceased had gone for the Haj through a privately-sponsored group, he said. A woman from the state was among those injured, he added.
A woman pilgrim from Hyderabad identified as Bibi Jaan was also killed in the stampede, said S A Shukoor, special officer of Telangana State Haj Committee.
Jaan had gone on the pilgrimage with her husband and two other relatives on September 2. She was caught up in the stampede and died at a hospital in Mina, he said.
Maqbool Alam, a resident of Doomri in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district, was also killed in Mina. His son-in-law Shahnawaj Ahmed, who was with Alam, told the family that the 64-year-old was caught in the crush during the stoning ritual.
Two Indians from Assam were among the injured and have been admitted to hospital.
The Saudi civil defence authority said 717 pilgrims from different nationalities were killed and 863 others were injured in the stampede that took place due to a sudden surge in the number of pilgrims heading to Jamarat for symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone walls resulted in the stampede at 9am local time.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said the stampede occurred at the intersection of two streets leading to Jamarat, about five kilometres from Makkah.
This is the second worst tragedy to hit the Haj after 1990 when 1,426 pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside a tunnel leading to holy sites.
Indian Haj mission doctors were deployed in all government hospitals in Mina and Mecca.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) said the Indian Consulate in Jeddah is continuously monitoring the post-stampede situation.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposition leader Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders condoled the deaths.
“Deeply saddened by tragic incident at Mina on Thursday, during which a large number of Haj pilgrims lost their lives,” the president tweeted.
Modi, in his message from the US, said: “Distressing news from Mecca. Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede. Condolences to families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.”