Bangladesh nationals among victims of Hajj stampede that killed hundreds

At least four Bangladesh nationals are said to be among those killed in a stampede at Mina, in Saudi Arabia, during the Hajj.

Staff CorrespondentSunamganj, Jamalpur, Feni and
Published : 24 Sept 2015, 03:49 PM
Updated : 25 Sept 2015, 07:26 PM

Their families in Sunamganj, Jamalpur and Feni said several other Bangladeshis were also injured in the mishap.

People from several different countries are reported to have died as foreigners make up around three-quarters of the two million pilgrims on this year’s Hajj.

Firoza Khanam, wife of Khandker Sirajul Islam, from Jamalpur town’s Hatchandra Mollabarhi, died in one of the worst Hajj tragedies on Thursday.

The victim from Sunamganj town’s Hajiparha was Julia Huda, wife of Mukul Huda.

Noor Nabi Mintu and his sister Tahera Begum from Sonagazi in Feni are the two other Bangladeshi victims.

Firoza was a former teacher of Hatchandra Government Primary School, her younger son Khandker Faridul Islam said.

“My mother went to the Hajj with my elder brother Khandker Mojaharul Islam Shamim. My brother called up in the afternoon and informed us about mother’s death,” he said.

He also said their relatives ‘Firoz’, Shafiul Azam, Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury, and Saiful Alam had been injured in the incident.

Sunamganj Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Khairul Huda Swapan told his brother Mukul and sister-in-law Julia had gone on Hajj pilgrimage.

Mukul had called in the evening to inform them about Julia’s death, Swapan said.

Her elder sister Afia Chowdhury was also injured and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia, he added.

In Feni, Tahera’s grandson-in-law Sheikh Abdul Hannan told Tahera, her brother ‘Mintu’, Mintu’s son Imam Uddin and Fatema Akter of the same Sonagaai area went for the Hajj.

Imam Uddin called his family in the evening to tell them about Tahera and Mintu’s death, Hannan said.

He also said Fatema had gone missing after the incident.

Earlier, Bangladesh Hajj Officer in Jeddah Md Asaduzzaman said there were Bangladeshis among the victims.

He, however, could not say how many.

“We are trying to gather information. This is a big incident. We’ll make public any information we get.”

Asaduzzaman said no one was being allowed near the hospitals.

Over two million Muslims from 150 countries are performing Hajj this year. Of them, more than 100,000 are Bangladeshis.

Saudi authorities said the death toll had risen to 717. At least 863 others have been injured.

The Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia has opened hotlines as the death toll from the stampede continues to rise.

The hotlines for Bangladeshis to seek assistance are 00966537375859 and 00966509360082.

Thursday's disaster was the worst to occur at the pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims suffocated in a tunnel near Makkah, reported Reuters.

Both incidents occurred on Eid-ul-Azha, Islam's most important feast and the day of the stoning ritual.

Two weeks ago, 110 people, including one Bangladeshi, died in Makkah's Grand Mosque when a crane working on an expansion project collapsed during a storm and toppled off the roof into the main courtyard, crushing pilgrims underneath.

At least 40 Bangladeshis were also among the 238 others injured in that accident.