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India revises its death toll in Haj stampede to 101

India on Friday revised the number of its citizens killed in a stampede during the Haj pilgrimage last month to 101 and said 32 others were missing.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2015 10:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Haj toll,Haj stampede,Sushma Swaraj
File photo of medical personnel tending to a wounded pilgrim following the Haj stampede.(Reuters File Photo)

India on Friday revised the number of its citizens killed in a stampede during the Haj pilgrimage last month to 101 and said 32 others were missing.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj provided details of the revised toll in a tweet.

“Saudi authorities have identified more pilgrims who died in Haj stampede. The toll of Indian pilgrims is now 101. We have 32 missing,” Swaraj said.

The Indian consulate in Jeddah said it would help relatives of missing pilgrims to visit Saudi Arabia so that they could visit the mortuary where bodies of victims have been kept. The external affairs ministry’s Haj division will help them obtain visas.

The crush and stampede outside Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca killed at least 1,399 people, a new tally by the Associated Press showed. This is 630 more than the kingdom’s official toll.

Saudi Arabia has been hesitant to release updated casualty figures from the September 24 stampede in Mina, the worst tragedy to strike the Haj in a quarter century, and hundreds remain missing.

Any disaster at the Haj could be seen as a blow to Saudi Arabia’s stewardship of Islam’s holiest sites. This season saw two major incidents, including the September 11 collapse of a crane at Mecca’s Grand Mosque that killed 111 people.

The AP count of dead is based on tolls offered by 18 of the over 100 countries that took part in the Haj this year. Iran said it had 465 pilgrims killed, while Egypt lost 148 and Indonesia 120.

Others include Nigeria with 99, Pakistan with 89, Mali with 70, Bangladesh with 63, Senegal with 54, Benin with 51, Cameroon with 42, Ethiopia with 31, Morocco with 27, Algeria with 25, Ghana with 12, Chad with 11, Kenya with eight and Turkey with three.

Saudi officials said their official figure of 769 killed and 934 injured remains accurate, though an investigation into the causes of the tragedy is ongoing and authorities have not updated the casualty toll since September 26.

Authorities said the crush and stampede occurred when two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road, causing hundreds of people to suffocate or be trampled to death.

Recent Indian documents on the stampede refer to at least 2,046 photographs of the dead, though its consular officials said some bodies were photographed multiple times.

With hundreds missing, a final death toll remains in question, even as the latest count brings the number of dead closer to the deadliest disaster to ever strike the Haj – a stampede in 1990 that killed 1,426 people.

First Published: Oct 09, 2015 09:48 IST