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53 deaths reported among Indian pilgrims
Jeddah, 3rd March 2001

There have been 53 deaths, all due to natural causes, among 120,133 Indian pilgrims, according to Indian Consul General Syed Akbaruddin. All the dead pilgrims were above 60 years, he said, adding that 34 of them came through the Central Haj Committee and 19 through private operators.

The phase of bringing pilgrims from various embarkation points in India was smoothly conducted by Saudi Arabian Airlines and Air-India. The return phase will commence on March 9 and will continue up to April 11, Akbaruddin told Arab News yesterday.

The strength of Indian pilgrims is the second largest after Indonesia. As many as 71,133 pilgrims came through the Haj committee, 36,000 through private operators and 13,000 from third countries. “All of them are in Makkah,”  the envoy said, adding that 28,000 of the pilgrims who went to Madinah directly on arrival, were back in Makkah.

A presentation on “Indian Haj management in the Kingdom — 2001” was given to the country’s 17-member Haj goodwill delegation, led by Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, on arrival.

The pilgrims came from 27 different states and union territories in India, according to the presentation.

In a state-wise break-up of CHC pilgrims, Uttar Pradesh tops with 12,303, followed by Maharashtra 10,754, Gujarat 7,161, Kerala 6,221, Jammu & Kashmir 5,758, Karnataka 4,845, Rajasthan 4,363, Andhra Pradesh 3,805, Madhya Pradesh 3,452, Tamil Nadu 2,880, Delhi 2,655, West Bengal 2,056, Bihar 1,769 and Assam 1,067.

The rest of the pilgrims came from smaller states and union territories.

The CHC has arranged accommodation for about 67,000 pilgrims. The rest of CHC pilgrims stay in Rubats (3,473) and in accommodation arranged by their relatives here (600).

In the pre-Haj phase, 28,065 pilgrims have completed their Madinah visit. The rest, including those from Madras, Bombay and Hyderabad, will visit Madinah after the Haj.

After a period of nine years, Saudia carried 20,500 pilgrims from Bombay and Cochin. And for the first time 14,000 Indian pilgrims traveling by Saudia will be returning directly from Madinah to Bombay.

Farooq Abdullah is due to meet Haj Minister Iyad Madani today. Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad and his wife Sunita Mainee Ahmad hosted a reception for the visiting delegation at Hotel Jeddah Trident on Thursday night.

45,000 Bangladeshis: Bangladeshi Consul General A.B. Manjoor Rahim said 45,000 Bangladeshis would perform Haj this time. “The number is slightly less than last year’s,” he added.

He said at least nine government ministers, including Foreign Minister Abdus Samad Azad, came two days ago for the annual pilgrimage.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina Wajed arrived here yesterday heading a 16-member goodwill delegation, which includes her sister Rehana.

Source: Arab News

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03 March 2001 12:03:21 PM

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