88 hajj pilgrims died in Saudi Arabia this year
At least 88 Bangladeshi pilgrims have died in the last one and a half months during their stay in Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.
Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and the largest gathering of Muslims in the world, was held on August 10.
Muhammad Maqsudur Rahman, councillor (Hajj), Bangladesh Hajj Mission in Saudi Arabia, yesterday told The Daily Star over telephone that 90 percent of the deceased were over the age of 60. Seventy-seven of them were men, he added.
Two pilgrims died in a road accident, while another died after falling from a hill at a religious site in Makkah, Maqsudur said, adding that most of the elderly hajis died of cardiac arrest, stroke and kidney failure.
He further said Bangladeshi doctors were providing round-the-clock health services to all Bangladeshi hajj aspirants, and have the required stock of medicines.
All the deceased were buried in Saudi Arabia as per the wish of their family members, Maqsudur said.
He, however added that there is no bar from Saudi authorities if family members of any deceased want to bring back their loved ones to the country for burial.
Some 145 Bangladeshi hajis died in 2018, 162 in 2017 and 191 in 2016, he said.
This year, some 1,26,923 pilgrims from Bangladesh performed hajj.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Airlines have started operating return hajj flights from August 17, which will continue till September 15, said Tasnim Akhter, manager (public relations) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.