By Abdul hafiz lakhani Ahmedabad :The death toll of Gujarat pilgrims in last week’s horrific stampede during Haj on Sunday rose to 13 as authorities identified three more bodies among the victims of the worst incident in 25 years to strike the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.. they were identified as Yusuf sikander Malek, Abdul husen syed, both were residents of Baroda and one Hafizabanu diwan of Bharuch.
Meanwhile, Authorities, including the Hajj committee or the government, have not contacted Ahmedabad based family members of Ruksana Nagori and Jahorabibi, two victims of the recent stampede in Mecca, even after 24 hours of the incident.
Wasim Nagori, son of Ruksana, said, “None from Hajj committee or the government contacted us even after 24 hours of the tragedy.” Wasim said the family was keen to learn the fate of his cousin Naeem who was still missing. His family members had left for Mecca on September 16. When dna met Wasim on Thursday afternoon, he said that his father Ishakbhai had called up from Mecca and informed about the death of Wasim’s mother and aunt.He added, “We want to bury the deceased in the holy soil of Mecca and don’t want to bring back their bodies here.” The Nagori family at Shahpur are praying to Allah for the safety of 35-year-old Naeem who has gone missing after the stampede in Mecca. Two elder women of the family have died in the mishap.
Naseem Nagori, 38, said, “Seven of our family including my brother Naeem, his wife Sameem, Ruksanabibi, Ishakbahi, Joharabibi, Shakilbahi and Rehana left for Mecca on September 16 and were to return on October 10. But Thursday’s stampede has changed everything. We came to know about the incident through our relative. We are very worried about Naeem’s safety.
“When we contacted some persons who are also in Mecca they said they saw my brother being carried by some volunteers. It means he is still alive. Now, we want to find him and bring him back home, but it can only be possible if the government helps us. We are not very rich and cannot afford to visit Mecca to look for my brother. Meanwhile, other family members who are already there are trying to get in touch with Naeem but they haven’t found him yet.”
One would expect to be met by an atmosphere of gloom at the Noor-e-burhan society in Juhapura, as the eldest member of the family, 75-year-old Zohra Biwi Nagori was killed in the stampede. However, instead of remorse, the society and family members are happy that she died in a place as holy as Mecca.
“We got to know about her death on Thursday night and though we are extremely upset, we are glad that she died with the name of Allah on her lips. This is the second time she went to Haj. This time she had told us that she might not return. At that time we all took her lightly,” said Ruksana Mohammed Nagori, Zohra Biwi’s relative.
Zohra Biwi was a widow and has no children. She lived in a joint family of 15 members. She was born and brought up in Ujjain and moved to Ahmedabad after her marriage. Her family does not want her body back and have requested authorities to bury her at Mecca.“We hope her death was not painful. We do not want to blame anyone for the stampede. It is Allah’s will and we have to accept it,” added Ruksana.All india Milli council, Gujarat chapter was deeply saddened about loss of life of some Gujarati Hajis in Mina,Saudi yesterday. Its general secretary Abdul hafiz lakhani extended his sincere condolence to the families of the victims and expressed his sympathies.it is high time that Saudi authorities should control the number of pilgrims. Though Saudi government makes full proof and excellent arrangements but due to lack of discipline of some people , such incidents happen, he added. President Mufti Rizwan tarapuri expressed his sorrow at this very unfortunate tragedy. He said that the Saudi government usually makes good arrangements for the annual event but “god knows what went wrong this year that so many people have lost their lives”.”Only details from the spot would make the picture clear as to what could have gone wrong while people in large number were busy performing Haj rituals,” he said.He said the Indian government, however, has very little to do after the Hajis reach the place of pilgrimage.