Riyaz Ul Khaliq
KL NEWS NETWORK
For the first time since the tragedies which befell Muslim world during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday confirmed that at least three Kashmiri pilgrims died in the Mina stampede while one died in crane crash incident. Four Hajjis are still missing while four others died of natural deaths. The government is yet ascertaining the cause of deaths of two other Hajjis.
The first flight carrying Kashmiri Hajjis landed at Srinagar International Airport today which ferried 336 pilgrims. A total of 6642 Kashmiris had flied to Saudi Arabia for annual Holy pilgrimage.
Addressing media in civil secretariat here, Minister for Hajj and Auqaf, A R Veeri said, “the government was getting details from all corners as it was very difficult to know where and when Kashmiris were staying at the time of tragedies.”
Veeri while detailing the identification of the dead and injured pilgrims said that the government shall be convening a meeting to discuss about the compensation, if any, to be given to such pilgrims. “CM Mufti is in New Delhi; let him come back first and then we will hold a meeting with CM Mufti and will discuss whether government shall compensate the families of dead pilgrims or not,” Veeri said in reply to a question.
When asked why PDP president and MP Mehbooba Mufti, who is heading an Indian Hajj delegation to Saudi Arabia, is yet to speak on the issue, Veeri replied, “Mehbooba Ji and our officers went to meet and see every injured Hajji. She visited hospitals and hotels to enquire about their health.” However, he asserted, “we were in process of getting details. It is difficult amongst three million Muslims to identify Kashmiris.”
The news of death and injured Kashmiri pilgrims was first made public by Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson from the United States, a day after on last Friday (Sep 25.)
Veeri further informed that the state government shall be holding a meeting with Hajj Committee of India (HCI) so that Kashmiris get same quarters or single clusters for boarding during Hajj. “We will be requesting chairperson of Hajj Committee of India to allot single clusters to Kashmiri pilgrims during Hajj; it will be easy then for our officials to take care and keep close contact with our people,” he said.
Veeri also said that no family wants that body of their dead relative (Hajj pilgrim) be flown back. “It is a holy land so people want their burial there.”
About the injured Kashmiri Hajj pilgrims, Veeri said, “they are being treated in Saudi hospitals and once they are fine, they will be flown back or if they are able to come, they can come on scheduled time.”
Gh Hassan Kharadi from Doulat Abad Khayar died in crane crash while Abdul Salam from Mustafa Abad HMT; Mohammad Ami from Bilal Colony Bemina; Mehraj Ud Din from Patlipora Chattabal died in Mina stamepede.
The injured in Mina stampede were identified as: Abdul Hamid Khan from Hapatnar Seer Hamadan, Islamabad; Gh Mohammad Shiekh from Sultanpora Chandoosa, Baramulla; Hajra Begum from Baramullah and Sara Begum from Zainakote HMT near SICOP.
The missing there Kashmiri Hajjis were identified as: Gh Nabi Hajam from Andergam Patta; Zamruda Ganaie from Chraloo; Abdul Khaliq Naikoo from Pinjoora Shopian and Shijahat Hussain Malik from Gurdal Aloosa, Bandipora.
Gh Nabi from Syedpora Hamchi, Srinagar; Siraj Ud Din (JK-195-02-0); Syed Mohi ud Din Shah (JK-10196-02-0) and Parveen Akhtar (JKR-3196-2-0) died of natural deaths while the cause of deaths of Mukta Banoo (JK-254-02-0) and Abdul Wahid Malik from Gulabad Arampora, Sopore is yet to be ascertained.
The state government has, Veeri added, got the information of such Hajjis from Consulate General of India in Saudi Arabia and J&K State Hajj Committee.