Jeddah: Nearly 80 Indians have died during the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia this year with most of the deaths due to illness or age-related ailments, a senior official said on Saturday.
Of the 136,020 Indian pilgrims who performed Haj this year, 100,020 came through the Haj Committee of India.
"Seventy-seven Indian pilgrims have died so far during their pilgrimage. All, apart from one person, have died due to natural causes. One person died in a lift accident in the early days of the pilgrimage and the deceased was from Tamil Nadu," Indian Consul General B S Mubarak told PTI.
"Over 100 others from the country were admitted to different hospital facilities for various medical problems," he said.
A total of 2,085,238 pilgrims, including 1,389,053 foreigners, performed this year's Haj which was by and large hassle-free and very much comfortable.
The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in a lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable.
Indian pilgrims have started returning after performing Haj with the first flight carrying 235 pilgrims to Kolkata departing on October 9.
While 49,000 of those who arrived through the Haj Committee will leave from Medina, the rest of the 51,000 Indian pilgrims have been to the city before Haj and will leave from Jeddah itself. Some pilgrims not feeling well might be sent by special arrangements.
The 36,000 pilgrims who came through private tour operators will go according to their programmes set by the operators from Medina or Jeddah.
Meanwhile, a total of 133 Arab foreign pilgrims have died so far, while 213 others have been admitted to hospitals during this Haj season, according to a statistical report issued by the Tawafa Organisation for Pilgrims from Arab Countries.
"We have advised seven pilgrims to return to their countries due to signs of psychiatric illness, preventing them from completing the Haj pilgrimage," Arab News reported quoting the Tawafa report.
Four of the pilgrims came from Egypt, two from Jordan and one from Lebanon, it said.
The highest number of deaths was reported among Egyptian pilgrims, with 14 cases of death and 81 hospitalisation cases.
Five Iraqis, four Algerians, and four Sudanese have also died, in addition to three Moroccans, three Somalis, two Yemenis, two Jordanians and one Mauritanian.
The Health Ministry here has said 56 per cent of deaths during the Haj season were caused by heart and lung diseases.
More than 265,000 pilgrims from Arab countries arrived in the Kingdom to perform Haj this year. The majority of pilgrims (68,749) have come from Egypt, followed by Algeria, Morocco and Iraq.