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Hajj 2024: Over 65 Indians Among 645 Deaths During Pilgrimage This Year, Most Fatalities Linked To Heat

While some of the Indians who died have lost their lives due to natural causes, diplomats say some are due to weather conditions as this year's Hajj pilgrimage has been marked by scorching heat.

AP
Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, June 17, 2024 Photo: AP
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Over 65 Indians have died while undettaking the Hajj this year, a diplomat in Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday, taking the death toll of the challenging pilgrimage this year to more than 600.

While some of the Indians who died have lost their lives due to natural causes, diplomats say some are due to weather conditions as this year's Hajj pilgrimage has been marked by scorching heat.

"We have confirmed around 68 dead... Some are because of natural causes and we had many old-age pilgrims. And some are due to the weather conditions, that's what we assume," a diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told news agency AFP.

According to AFP tally, total reported dead in this year's Hajj so far is 645. The new toll comes after two Arab diplomats told AFP on Tuesday that 550 deaths had been recorded during the hajj.

The 550 figure included 323 Egyptians and 60 Jordanians, the Arab diplomats said, and one specified that nearly all the Egyptians died "because of heat". Deaths have also been confirmed by Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, though in many cases authorities have not specified the cause.

Hajj Pilgrimage

The Hajj is one of the 'Five Pillars' of Islam and its rituals largely commemorate the accounts of Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail, who is regarded as his son, Ismail's mother Hajar and Prophet Muhammad, according to the Quran, Islam's holy book.

In the Islamic version, God stayed his hand and Ismail was spared.

Once the Hajj is over, men are expected to shave their heads, and women to chop off a lock of hair in a sign of renewal. Most of the pilgrims then leave Mecca for the city of Medina, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) away, to pray in Prophet Muhammad's tomb, the Sacred Chamber.

The Sacred Chamber tomb is part of the prophet's mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam, along with the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

If physically and financially able to go on Hajj pilgrimage, all Muslims are required to do so at least once in their lives.

More than 1.83 million Muslims performed Hajj in 2024, including more than 1.6 million pilgrims from 22 countries, and around 222,000 Saudi citizens and residents, according to Saudi Hajj authorities cited in an Associated Press report.

(With inputs from AFP and AP)

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