Haj Stampede: Death Toll of Indians Killed Rises to 18

Published: 26th September 2015 06:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2015 06:54 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

MINA: The death toll of Indian pilgrims in the horrific stampede during Haj rose to 18 today as Saudi Arabia grappled to come to terms with the worst tragedy to hit the annual pilgrimage in 25 years that has claimed 719 lives so far.

"Our officials on the ground in Mecca have been working continuously to ascertain information and reach out to family members of missing pilgrims. According to the latest information, 18 Indians have died in the tragedy," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said today.

"Our mission is working with Saudi authorities and family members to confirm the identities of the deceased and expedite formalities for release of the mortal remains," he said.

Of the 18 Indians killed, 11 were from Gujarat, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Telangana, Kerala, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Out of the 18 Indians killed, four persons, who were later found among the dead, have been identified as -- Rasul Ali from Jharkhand, Moinuddin from Uttar Pradesh, Hafijabahen Satarsha Diwan from Gujarat and Syed Abdul Hussain from Gujarat.

At least 13 Indians were also among the over 863 people injured in the tragedy.

As Muslim pilgrims sombrely resumed the final rites of Haj yesterday, Saudi Arabia's King Salman ordered a safety review and a "revision" of the Haj organisation.

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.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York questioned whether the Saudi government could be trusted with the responsibility of overseeing the haj.

Meanwhile, Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said the stampede "was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities.

King Salman ordered the formation of a committee to probe the incident during the five-day pilgrimage in which around two million people from more than 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, Islam's holiest site, killing over 100

people, including many foreigners.

The Saudi civil defence authority said 719 pilgrims from different nationalities were killed in the stampede.

China pledged to cap carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and make its best effort to cap them earlier, China and the US are developing new heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency standards, to be finalised in 2016 and implemented in 2019.

Both countries are also stepping up their work to phase down super polluting hydro-fluorocarbons.

The two countries also announced further steps to help accelerate the transition to low-carbon development internationally to help developing economies combat climate

change and new steps to control public support for high carbon activities.

The two countries also reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation, both at the federal and sub national levels.

Since 2011, China has launched pilot projects for carbon trading in locations that include Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, and in Hubei and Guangdong provinces.

Li Shuo, senior climate and energy policy officer at Greenpeace East Asia, said creating a national market and putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in

energy-guzzling and highly polluting industries, will help China implement its climate change goals as well as help it realize a revolutionary transition from coal to renewable

energies.

The plan is part of China's larger strategy to promote green, low-car-bond development and meet its goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Its commitment is expected to galvanise delegates going into this year's climate change summit in Paris, experts said.

In June during a visit to Paris, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the nation's ambitious targets for cutting energy consumption per unit of economic output by 60 to 65

percent from its 2005 level.

In the same month, China had submitted proposals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The blueprint also includes green energy rules to increase renewable energy into the electrical grid, to improve the energy efficiency of green buildings.

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