Pilgrims and rival state Iran blamed Saudi Arabia for the tragic stampede that killed 717 Hajj pilgrims during the ritual of “stoning the devil.” This has only increased public outrage following another mishap earlier this month that claimed the lives of 100 other pilgrims.
Pilgrims claim that the stampede was caused due to poor management and inadequate safety measures installed by the government. They asserted that the stampede occurred after the authorities blocked a part of the road for the passage of certain dignitaries. Iran’s vice president Eshaq Jahangiri demanded that other nations be included in the investigation of the stampede to ensure transparency, and suggested that maybe Saudi Arabia should no longer be managing the pilgrimage.
An indignant Saudi authority has refuted all accusations and argued that the stampede would not have occurred if everyone had followed the instructions. They accused Iran media of spreading malicious rumors and said that the kingdom was “capable of managing Hajj affairs” without outside intervention.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered “a revision” of how the Hajj is organised, to allow pilgrims to “carry out their rituals in complete safety”. The government has improved security, especially around the site of the traditional stoning ritual and reduced crowd sizes on the roads.