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Death toll of Keralites in Haj stampede rises to 8

Death toll of Keralites in Haj stampede rises to 8

Makkah: Two more deaths of Malayali Haj pilgrims were announced by the officials on Sunday, taking the death toll from the State to 8 in Thursday's tragedy near Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

The bodies of Ponnani native Puthuveetil Kunhimon (57) and Muhammed Kutty (30), a resident of Ederikkod near Kottakal, were identified on Sunday. Their relatives were informed by the officials.

With this, the death toll of Indian pilgrims in stampede rose to 30. The authorities identified four more bodies, including the two Keralites, on Sunday in the worst incident to strike the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in 25 years.

Hajj Consulate in Jeddah identified the other deceased as Mansurul Haque (Jharkhand) and Anvar Janha (UP).

The Consulate had on Saturday confirmed death of 26 Indians, including Keralites. The bodies of Kollam native Sulfiker (32), Sajeev Habeeb (42), Amina Beevi of Karunagapally, and Muhammed Fais, son of Muneer and Shahnas from Feroke in Kozhikode, were identified on Saturday.

The other pilgrims whose death was confirmed were Abdul Rahman of Malappuram and Abdul Kader from Palakkad.

Saudi authorities have put the total death toll from the stampede during Hajj 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 Hajj.

Hajj 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 the 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.

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