A stampede at Hajj pilgrimage on 24 September 2015 resulted in the deaths of at least 719 pilgrims and injured around 863 people during the annual Hajj in Mecca. Among those 717 dead pilgrims, two were Indians.
The stampede was triggered when two large groups of pilgrims intersected from different directions onto the same street. The incident occurred near a T-shaped intersection of narrow streets in Mina, between Mount Arafat and the Grand Mosque when the pilgrims were performing the symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at the three pillars.
Soon afterwards, the pilgrims were redirected away from the stampede site. An estimated 160000 tents are distributed across several camp sites in Mina.
Hajj Stampede of 1990
It is the deadliest accident to occur in the Hajj since the 1990 stampede. This is the second worst incident in 25 years to hit the annual pilgrimage. In 1990, a stampede inside a tunnel leading to holy sites killed 1426 pilgrims.
The stampede began when some pilgrims stopped in the middle of the air-conditioned tunnel and there was a rush outside with people pushing each other to escape 112-degree heat.
About Hajj Pilgrimage
Known as the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj is an annual pilgrimage in Mecca undertaken by Muslims at least once in their lifetime. As traditionally performed, it consists of a series of rites including the Stoning of the Devil which takes place in Mina, a district of Mecca.
The pilgrimage includes detailed rituals such as wearing a special white garment that symbolizes human equality and unity before God; a circular procession around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine surrounded by Mecca’s Grand Mosque; and the symbolic stoning.
The stoning ritual is the last major ritual and is often regarded as the most dangerous part of the Hajj, with its large crowds, confined spaces, and tight scheduling. This ritual marks the last day of Hajj and observes Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest Muslim holidays.