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Toll reaches 11 as nine more Indians die in Mecca mosque accident

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: In the crane crash accident at the Grand Mosque in Mecca in Saudi Arabia, nine more Indian Haj pilgrims have died, taking the toll to 11 so far, the external affairs ministry said on Sunday.

Vikas Swarup, ministry spokesperson tweeted – “after opening of mortuary on Sunday evening, officials working with relatives have confirmed that nine more Indians have unfortunately died” in the accident.

He said the Indian mission in Jeddah was extending all possible assistance to the families of the 11 deceased pilgrims to complete the formalities in Mecca.

source: nbcnews
source: nbcnews

Indian officials in Mecca were continuing to provide assistance to the 19 injured Indian pilgrims, he added.

The ministry released a list of nine dead pilgrims — Mohd Hanif, Tabassum, Hassan Kharaj, Zafar Sheikh, Zakira Begum, Mohd Abdul Khadar, Fatima Begum, Shameem Bano, Khader Bee.

In Hyderabad, Telangana State Haj Committee’s special officer S.A. Shukoor told IANS that a couple, namely Abdul Khader (38) and his wife Fatima Begum (32), hailing from Krishna district in coastal Andhra Pradesh had died. They were among the nine Indian pilgrims who were identified in the mortuary.

The number of dead in the crane crash has gone up to 111 so far, while 331 people are injured.

The ministry statement revealed that the Indian mission has published its 24/7 helpline — 00966125458000, 00966125496000 — and toll free number 8002477786 for pilgrims within Saudi Arabia.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Mosque Attacked in Egypt: 235 People Killed by Islamic Terrorists

Islamic militants fired on people both inside and outside the Rawda mosque in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt

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Egyptian security officials, quoted by state-run media, say 235 people have been killed by suspected militants in an attack on a packed mosque Friday in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula.

Frightened residents fled the center of the town of Bir al Abed, after Islamic militants fired on people both inside and outside the Rawda mosque. Scores of bodies were strewn across the mosque’s carpeted floor.

A man claiming to have been inside the mosque during the attack told Arab media that militants in four-wheel drive vehicles opened fire inside the house of worship following an explosion.

Eyewitnesses also say the militants fired on ambulances as emergency personnel tried to evacuate the wounded to hospitals in nearby Arish. Egyptian media reported that several government targets also were attacked inside the town.

In Egypt, a Mosque attacked.
Egyptians gather outside the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, following a gun and bombing attack, on Nov. 24, 2017. VOA

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Shia Waqf board in Favor of Building Mosque at some distance from Hindu temple at disputed Ayodhya site

Shia Waqf board is in favor of building the mosque at some distance from the Hindu temple at the disputed Ayodhya site

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Mosque to be shifted away from disputed Ayodhya site
Mosque to be shifted away from disputed Ayodhya site. Pixabay
  • Masjid and Mandir should be avoided in as much as both denominations using loudspeakers tend to disturb the religious performances of each other
  • Masjid can be located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram
  • The Shia Waqf board in its affidavit said that out of court settlement should be considered in order to end the dispute

New Delhi, August 9, 2017:  Supreme Court will begin the hearing of a vital Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid dispute in a few days. The Uttar Pradesh Shia central waqf board (one of the parties in the litigation) is in favor of shifting the demolished mosque, away from Ayodhya site in order to put an end to the much controversial dispute.

The Shia board, trying to put to rest the 70-year legal battle, said that the mosque can be constructed away from the disputed Ayodhya site, a dramatic shift in stand by them. The Shia board also suggested something to amicably settle the dispute- A high-power judicial-political panel should be set up, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge. It also requested the court to appoint the committee having two retired Allahabad High Court judges, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, a nominee of the Prime Minister besides representatives of litigating parties.

The board, as per the affidavit filed and submitted to the apex court – The mosque can be relocated from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram to a nearby area which is Muslim dominated and this move will conclude the dispute on the 2.77 acres of land which houses a makeshift temple of Ram Lalla.

ALSO READ: Akhilesh Yadav wants to maintain status quo in Ayodhya’s disputed site

The Shia stand can however likely cause a conflict with the Sunni Waqf Board. While Sunnis make a majority of Muslims in India, the decision of a section of the community represented by the Shia waqf board is important. This is the 1st time that religious board has favored for the shifting of the mosque.

Taking a dig at Sunni Waqf board, Shia Board said in its affidavit that the Sunni Central Waqf Board should not get involved in exploring peaceful settlement of the dispute as “it is under the dominant control of hardliners, fanatics, and non-believer in peaceful coexistence, who have absolutely no stakes in the case”.

According to TOI report, the Shia board said (in an affidavit filed by advocate MC Dhingra), “It is of the view that closeness of place of worships— Masjid and Mandir, of the two litigating denominations, should be avoided in as much as both denominations using loudspeakers tend to disturb the religious performances of each other, often leading to conflicts, bringing bitterness between the two factions. The answering respondent is of the view that to bring peace to the situation, Masjid can be located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram.”

ALSO READ: Government seeks solution to Ramjanmbhoomi dispute through talks: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in Ayodhya

Since 1945, Shia waqf board along with the Sunni waqf board have been fighting a legal battle claiming the ownership of Babri Masjid, the HC gave its verdict in favor of the Sunni Board when it divided the disputed plot three ways between the Board, Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara.

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The Allahabad High Court order which came on September 30, 2010, but the verdict was immediately challenged by different parties before the apex court. Since then no progress has been made in the case and it’s pending from then. The apex court agreed to grant an early hearing and has posted the case to August 11, 2017.

The Shia Waqf board in its affidavit said that out of court settlement should be considered in order to end the dispute. It said, “Considering the Muslim tenets of living in peace and harmony and respecting the religious sentiments of other communities following different religions, in this case, Hindu Community, it is ready and willing to conclude the peaceful settlement of the dispute, which it fondly hopes will be acceptable to all the stake holders.”

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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After 22 years, India mulling resuming use of Arabian Sea route to ferry Haj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

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Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Image Source: Wikimedia

Mumbai, April 14, 2017: Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said the Centre is “actively considering” a plan to resume — after 22 years — the use of the Arabian Sea route to ferry Haj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and consultations with the Shipping Ministry are already on.

He said the “revolutionary and pilgrim-friendly decision” of sea travel will cut down travel expenses by nearly half compared with air fares. The use of the sea route between Mumbai and Jeddah for Haj was discontinued in 1995.

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“A high-level committee, formed by the government to frame the Haj Policy 2018 as per the Supreme Court’s 2012 order, is exploring the issue for sending pilgrims via the sea route to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia,” the Minister of State for Minority Affairs said at a training programme at the Haj House here.

The committee will soon submit its report to the government.

At present, Haj pilgrims travel by air from 21 points across the country.

The minister said another advantage was that ships nowadays are modern and well equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at one go.

“They can cover the 2,300-odd nautical miles between Mumbai and Jeddah in just two-three days. Earlier, ships used to take 12 to 15 days to cover this distance,” he said.

He said the new Haj policy is aimed at making the entire pilgrimage process easier and transparent. Facilities for pilgrims will be the focus of the new policy.

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In 2016, as many as 99,903 pilgrims went to Jeddah for Haj through the Haj Committee of India, besides nearly 36,000 persons who went through private tour operators.

In 2017, a total of 1,70,025 persons will go for Haj from India, including 1,25,025 through the Haj Committee and 45,000 others through private operators.

This year, he said, 129,196 applications were received online.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs along with other agencies has started preparations for the biggest annual pilgrimage very early in coordination with various agencies, he added. The aim is to provide world class facilities to Haj pilgrims.

With an increase of 34,005 in India’s annual Haj quota by host country Saudi Arabia, announced last year, all Indian states will benefit for this year’s pilgrimage, Naqvi said.

“The decision was taken during the signing of a bilateral annual Haj agreement between the two countries at Jeddah on January 11. It is the biggest increase in the Haj quota for India after many years,” the Minister said.

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More than 500 trainers from different states are participating in the three-day training programme that deals with various dos and don’ts to be adhered to during the pilgrimage. They are enlightened about transport, accommodation and laws in Saudi Arabia, among other things.

Officials from the Haj Committee of India, Saudi Arabia Consulate, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, Saudi Airlines, Air India, customs and immigration departments and doctors are involved in the endeavour.

These trainers will further train prospective pilgrims at different camps across the country. (IANS)