Hajj pilgrimage management under fire

Hajj pilgrimage management under fire

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The death of 769 people in a stampede at Mina near the holy city of Makkah has not only cast a gloom on the Eid celebrations in the Muslim world but also created a big tension as some countries. Iran in
particular has raised accusing fingers at Saudi Arabia. Of the at least 769 people dead in the crush, more than 140 were from Iran. Tension is high also in Bangladesh as many families are reporting the loss of contact with their relatives who have been on pilgrimage. So far bodies of three Bangladeshi  Hajis have been identified. The body of another pilgrim has been confirmed as being a Bangladeshi but his identify is yet to be known. As the death toll raises fear of death of those Bangladeshi pilgrims who have lost contact with families is increasing.The sad aspect is that the stampede happened not at the Jamarat pillars, the spots of stoning devils, but at the start of the four approach roads at four stories. The Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh assuaged the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef that he was not to blame for the stampede because it was beyond human control. Clearly the Grand Mufti wanted to assert that it was the destiny of the dead and the injured, which the Western media has dubbed as submission to fatalism, to cushion the Saudi Royal family from the blame of mismanagement of the Hajj pilgrimage. However fact remains that the Saudis invested billions to improve the Hajj infrastructure. The collapse of a crane on the Haram Sharif that killed 111 and injured more than a hundred others before the start of the Hajj rites and the stampede have shattered the image that they could otherwise have created.
This has been the bloodiest stampede in recent history. Muslims around the world are saddened at its magnitude and the casualties. The pilgrims wanted to return home sinless. But they could not come back to their relatives who eagerly awaited their return for reunion. There is no scope for miscalculating the reaction the tragedy has created. Nobody wanted this to happen. Bangladesh has friendly relations with KSA which is the largest destination of the nation’s migrant workers. Bangladesh also sends a large delegation of pilgrims every year. The pilgrims pay revenue to the governments of both Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia in the form of different fees and enhanced air fare. They deserve to be treated more humanely.

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