2nd Hajj tragedy: 1 Indian among 719 killed, 805 injured during stampede in Mina

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Riyadh, Sept 24: In a second major mishap in the Muslim holy city of Mina in Saudi Arabia, at least 719 people including an Indian, were killed and over 805 were injured during a stampede on Thursday, Sept 24.

A woman from Telangana is among the Haj pilgrims killed in the stampede. An official of the Telangana State Haj Committee said that the deceased had been identified as Bibi Jaan, a resident of Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad.

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The tragedy occurred due to a sudden rush of the pilgrims on Street 204 in Mina where they perform a symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone walls.

Officials at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah have said two Indian pilgrims from Assam were injured in the tragedy. The Saudi civil defence authority said 719 people from different nationalities have died in the tragedy.

Rescue operations were underway after the stampede in Mina, where pilgrims were performing the symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at the three pillars.

Eyewitnesses said the stampede happened at the entrance of the Jamarat bridge near Street 204, not inside of the area where the stoning pillars are. Two teams of medical screening have been set up at the site of the incident.

"In my camp there were about 400 pilgrims. All of them are safe. But I am trying to make some calls and ascertain from other people," said Abid Rasool Khan, Chairman Minorities Panel, Andhra Pradesh.

The civil defence authority said its teams on the ground are leading pilgrims to safer routes away from the stampede site through alternate routes.

It said 4,000 people were taking part in rescue efforts, along with 220 ambulances. TV footage from the incident site showed the ground strewn with injured people. Women and old men were screaming.

[Haj pilgrims march to Mina as journey of faith begins]

Mina has in the past been the site of major stampedes that have killed hundreds of people. At least 51 Indians were among 364 pilgrims killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina in 2006.

The five-day pilgrimage will culminate with the symbolic stoning of Satan on Saturday. Saudi authorities claimed that they have made elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims in Mina, where thousands of tents have been set up to host the 'guests of Allah'.

About 1.5 lakh Indians are among the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who have converged in the Kingdom for the five-day Hajj. The Saudi authorities have deployed 1,00,000 security personnel for ensuring the safety and well-being of pilgrims.

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[Muslims flock to hajj despite deadly crane collapse]

On Friday, Sept 11, high winds toppled a massive crane that smashed into Mecca's Grand Mosque and killed at least 107 people, including 11 Indians.

The hajj is among the five pillars of Islam and every capable Muslim must perform the pilgrimage at least once.

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