mecca stampede
Health workers help the injured in Mina, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 24, 2015.IANS

The number of Indian Haj pilgrims killed in the stampede in Mina near Mecca in Makkah province of Saudi Arabia increased to 35, the government said on Sunday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj posted a tweet on Sunday stating that the death toll has increased to 29. "The number of Indian lives lost in Haj stampede has unfortunately gone up to 29," she tweeted.

"Our embassy officials are providing all help to the families," she said in another tweet. In another post, Swaraj said that six more Indians are reported dead, bringing the toll to 35.

Hajj Consulate in Jeddah identified the deceased as Mansurul Haque from Jharkhand, Anvar Janha from Uttar Pradesh, FA Muneer Veetil, Amina Beevi, Abdul Rahiman Asarithodi, P V Kunhimon and Moiuddin Abdul Kader from Kerala, PTI reported.

The death toll of Indians had risen to 22 on Saturday evening after eight more pilgrims were reported dead. On Saturday, two Haj pilgrims from Kerala and one each from Jharkhand and Karnataka were identified.

The two pilgrims from Kerala were identified as Zulfiqar Abdul Khalam and Sajeev Habib, the one from Karnataka as Abdul Ghafoor Kamal and the man from Jharkhand as Mohammed Yasin Miyan.

Emergency Numbers in Makkah: 00966125458000, 00966125496000 Toll free number for pilgrims in Kingdom: 8002477786

The total death toll has reached 769 so far, while 934 people have been reported injured in Thursday's stampede in Mina. 

Swaraj had on Saturday said that the Indian government is "facilitating visits of relatives of missing pilgrims and tour operators to the complex for identification".

A total of 14 Indian Haj pilgrims were reported dead on Friday, but the death toll reached 18 on Saturday morning and increased to 22 by the evening. A list of 13 injured Indian pilgrims was also released by the MEA.

The government is working to identify the Indians among the deceased and injured. "Our mission is working with Saudi authorities and family members to confirm the identities of the deceased and expedite the formalities for release of the mortal remains," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a statement.

"Officials on the ground have been working continuously to ascertain information and reach out to family members of missing pilgrims," he said.

Two million Muslim pilgrims from more than 180 countries had gone to Mina to perform Haj. At least 1.5 lakh pilgrims were from India.

(With inputs from IANS)

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