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Death toll of Indians in Haj stampede rises to 29

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Mina: The death toll of Indian pilgrims in last week’s horrific stampede during Haj today rose to 29 as authorities identified seven more bodies among the victims of the worst incident in 25 years to strike the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Hajj Consulate in Jeddah identified the deceased as Mansurul Haque (Jharkhand), Anvar Janha (UP), F A Muneer Veetil, Amina Beevi, Abdul Rahiman Asarithodi, P V Kunhimon and Moiuddin Abdul Kader (all from Kerala).

Saudi authorities have put the total death toll from the stampede during Haj to 769. The number of injured stands at 934. At least 13 Indians were among those injured.

King Salman has ordered the formation of a committee to probe the deadly incident during the five-day pilgrimage in which around two million people from over 180 countries took part. From India, 1.5 lakh pilgrims performed Haj.

Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in a lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable.

The stampede broke out after two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other from different directions at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina for symbolic stoning of the devil.

It was the second major accident this year for pilgrims, after a construction crane collapsed on September 11 at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing over 100 people, including 11 Indians.