'I couldn't save my mother'
The scene of the stampede that left hundreds of Hajj pilgrims dead in Saudi Arabia still haunts Shamim Ahmed, 45.
He does not know how to get over the shock: his 65-year old mother Firoza Khanom died in front of his own eyes.
“She died while I was carrying her upon my shoulder. I had to witness her miserable death,” Shamim, a resident of Merul Badda of Dhaka, told The Daily Star yesterday.
In the morning of the incident, Shamim and his mother said their Fajr prayers before they started from Mujdalifa for Jamarat to perform the stoning ritual.
It was around 7:00am that they, lost in a sea of crowd, were shuffling towards the site of stoning. But all of a sudden, the crowds stopped moving, Shamim said.
As they were pushed by those coming in their thousands behind them, they got trapped in a crush, falling down and being trampled. It was too late by the time Shamim tried to protect his mother.
“My mother cried and said, baba, if we are to die here, let us recite Kalema in the name of Allah,” Shamim said.
In less than half an hour, his mother died.
“I shouted for help but none came forward. I could not take mother out of the crowd,” he said.
Then Shamim fainted. When he regained his consciousness, he found himself in a safe place. He rushed back to the scene to see what happened to his mother's body.
“Some people came and took my mother's body away. Since then I do not know where her body was kept,” Shamim said.
He has searched for her body in 10 to 15 hospitals so far, but all in vain. Neither the Bangladesh Hajj Mission officials nor the Saudi authorities could give him any clue.
The man had to return home on Wednesday leaving his mother's body behind as his visa expired.