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    IndiaNearly 100 Indian Pilgrims Perish in Saudi Arabia During Annual Hajj Ritual

    Nearly 100 Indian Pilgrims Perish in Saudi Arabia During Annual Hajj Ritual


    Several Indian nationals lost their lives in Saudi Arabia last week while participating in the annual Hajj pilgrimage, with the intense heat wave in the region being a major contributing factor. As per recent reports from Indian officials stationed in the kingdom, around 98 Indian Muslims were among the hundreds who succumbed to extreme conditions and pre-existing medical issues during the religious observance.

    Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, sees millions of devotees converging on the holy cities of Mecca and Mina in Saudi Arabia each year to complete a set of rituals commemorating Prophet Ibrahim and his family. The pilgrimage this year coincided with oppressively hot temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, posing severe risks especially for elderly pilgrims and those undertaking the journey without adequate facilities or medical support.

    While the exact toll fluctuates, it is estimated that over 530 pilgrims in total died during the 2022 Hajj ritual. Indian authorities said most of the deceased Indians had come on tourist visas without proper arrangements like tents or cooling, increasing vulnerability to dehydration and heat stroke. Only a handful succumbed directly due to heat on the important day of Arafat spent at the mount. The bodies were handled as per Saudi protocols with most families consenting to burial in the country.

    As one of the largest participant nations, sends over 1.5 lakh pilgrims every year through a regulated process overseen by the Haj Committee of India. However, a sizeable number also perform Hajj independently through private tours. Officials remain on standby to provide assistance to citizens undertaking the voyage. While such phenomena are an unfortunate reality of the mass religious event held under trying climatic conditions, they underscore the need for ensuring all pilgrims, especially the aged and ailing, have suitable protection and medical cover.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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