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717 dead, 2 Indians among 863 injured in Haj stampede in Saudi


Mina : At least 717 people of different nationalities were killed and over 860 others, including two Indians, injured in a stampede today when Haj pilgrims jostled their way to perform symbolic stoning of the devil here, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage.

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 9 AM local time (1130 IST), the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

It said that the stampede occurred at the intersection of two streets leading to Jamarat.

The Saudi civil defence authority said that 717 pilgrims from different nationalities were killed and 863 others were injured.

This is the second worst incident in 25 years to hit the annual pilgrimage. In 1990, a stampede inside tunnel leading to holy sites killed 1,426 pilgrims.

The Indian Consulate in Jeddah said there were no reports of any Indian being killed in the stampede so far. However, two Indians from Assam were injured and have been admitted to hospital.

Indian Haj mission doctors are deployed in all government hospitals in Mina and Mecca to ascertain if there were any Indian casualties. The Consulate is continuously monitoring the situation, a statement from the mission said. It said that the tents in the affected area are occupied by pilgrims from Africa and Arab countries.

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