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Pall of gloom descends on homes

FAUZIA, FATIMA and Abida had left their homes on December 21 to perform Haj and were scheduled to return on February 2. But tragedy struck them on Thursday as all three died in the stampede in Mina.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 01:15 IST

FAUZIA, FATIMA and Abida had left their homes on December 21 to perform Haj and were scheduled to return on February 2. But tragedy struck them on Thursday as all three died in the stampede in Mina.

Their family members are shocked but look stoic, as deaths of Hajis are not mourned in Islam. “They have received jannat by dying in the sacred land of Mina,” said one of their relatives.

Brigadier Meraj Ashraf’s house in Tyagi Vihar colony is locked from outside but his neighbours know him as a lively man. He is seriously injured and has lost his wife and sister in the stampede.

His neighbour Lt Col Zafar said, “Ahsraf’s wife Fauzia, 57, his sister and Indira Nagar resident Seerat Fatima, 66, and the Brigadier’s next door neighbour Abeda Shakeel, 55, were unable to face the surging crowd and lost their lives in the holy land.”

Mohammed Abdul Salam, a retired engineer and husband of Seerat Fatima, refused to express his feelings. “She has received jannat. But still we wanted her back. I am worried about those who are injured and have no one to attend to,” he said.

“I was worried about the well being of my wife and brother-in-law after the news of stampede broke on TV. I tried to get in touch with them but my efforts were in vain. It was my son Ashar Madani, a software engineer in the USA, who conveyed the tragic news. He gathered the information from the Internet,” Salam said.

State Haj Committee admitted that three Lucknowites were killed in the stampede. Secretary of State Haj Committee Javed Aslam has spoken to officials at the Indian Consulate in Mecca. He said every Haji had an insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh, which would be paid to the families of the deceased. He said in all 18,800 pilgrims had gone to perform Haj from UP. Of them, 9015 have flown out from Lucknow.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 01:15 IST