Death toll of Indians rises to 22

The death toll of Indian pilgrims in Thursday’s Mecca stampede has risen to 22 and some bodies are yet to be identified, tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The death toll reached 717 while over 800 are reportedly injured. The Haj stampede is reported to be the worst tragedy to hit the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Of the 22 Indian victims, nine hailed from Gujarat, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Telangana and Kerala. Four others are yet to be identified. At least 13 Indians were also among the over 800 people injured in the tragedy.

Leading the criticism against Saudi Arabia, its regional rival Iran expressed indignation at the deaths of 131 of its nationals at the world’s largest annual gathering of people and suggesting Riyadh was incapable of managing the event. As the blame game erupted, Saudi Arabia on its part suggested pilgrims ignoring crowd control rules bore some blame for the stampede.