The Mina tragedy at Hajj has seen 719 pilgrims killed including 18 Indians, while the more than 1000 were injured but stampedes are unlikely to subside despite best efforts anywhere in the world.
In 2006 stampede, 364 pilgrims were killed and more than 1000 people were injured on the final day of a symbolic stoning ritual at the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
It is one of the worst tragedy in 25 years and the authorities are busy to deflect criticism. Saudi officials claimed that some pilgrims who didn’t follow the guidelines issued are responsible for the sudden crush on the five-storey Jamarat Bridge near Mecca.
Another official, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the head of the central Hajj committee, provoked fury when he blamed that some pilgrims of African nationalities caused the stampede. While the blame game is still on, Saurdi Arabia is pondering the way out to stop such stampedes in the future.
Otherwise, the worst stampede in recent history of Hajj took place in the year 1990 at the same place when almost 1,500 pilgrims died and thousands were injured.
Haj stampede helpline numbers: 00966125458000 and 00966125496000
On the Jamrat Bridge, which is half-a-mile-long, in five-storey allows only 300,000 pilgrims an hour to carry out the stoning ritual at Mina. The stampede happened after thousands of pilgrims at the intersection of two streets began to make their way towards an area overlooking the columns.
After stampede 4,000 members of the emergency service and 220 rescue vehicles were deployed to ease the congestion and provide alternate exits.
The stoning ritual, “stoning of the Devil” is one of the last event of the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site and for Muslims who are economically well off are required to go on Hajj at least once in their lifetime.