Jeddah: Thirty-three Indians were among the 80 Hajj pilgrims from South Asia who died of illness or due to old-age ailments during the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia this year, a media report said on Saturday.
Apart from the 33 Indian pilgrims, 25 Pakistani and 22 Bangladeshi pilgrims have died since the beginning of the Hajj season.
The Indians included 84-year-old Ghulam Shabbir Hussain, a resident of Akola in Maharashtra, who fell sick in the Air India flight and died during the journey.
The majority of the dead Indian pilgrims have been buried in Makkah, Arab News reported citing Indian officials.
According to the Pakistan Hajj directorate, a total of 25 Pakistani pilgrims have died. Among them are two cases of premature births in Makkah.
The Bangladesh Hajj mission said that a total of 79,604 pilgrims had arrived in the Kingdom by Wednesday. Of these, 22 pilgrims died with most deaths occurring in Makkah.
Recently, the Saudi Arabia raised concerns about the increase in the number of chronically ill foreign pilgrims who arrived in the Kingdom endangering the health of other pilgrims and taxing the facilities in the holy cities.
According to a top Saudi health ministry official, many Muslims in different parts of the world strongly believe that death during Hajj or in the holy cities will help them attain a place in paradise.
This belief leads them to hide some facts of their health history as they are determined to perform the pilgrimage.
"The misconception that dying in the holy cities or during the Hajj will swiftly help them attain heaven is one of the leading reasons for the increase in the number of old and chronically ill patients during the annual pilgrimage," the official was quoted as saying in the report.