Dubai, UAE: Arabic media claims that Hajj stampede on 24 September 2015 that resulted in the deaths of over 720 persons performing Hajj was caused by closing of two paths at Jamarat by Saudi government for giving a passage to a prince.
Arabic-language daily Ad-Diyar reported a serious thing in Hajj disaster and claimed in its special report that the convoy escorting Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, which consisted of 200 army forces and 150 police officers, played a central role in the stampede.
The report said the presence of the prince in the middle of the population prompted a change in the direction of the movement of the pilgrims and a stampede.
The report further claimed that Mohammad and his huge entourage swiftly abandoned the scene, adding that the Saudi authorities seek to hush up the entire story and impose a media blackout on Mohammad’s presence in the area.
Newspaper cited one Mohammed Jafari, an advisor to the Hajj and Umrah Travel tour operator in the UK who claimed:
The main reason for this accident was that the King and his palace was receiving dignitaries including the minister of defence and members of the Gulf Co-operation Council. For this reason, they closed two of the entrances to where the (‘stoning of the devil’ ritual) happens and they closed two roads where people were not able to proceed which created two bottlenecks.
SAUDI ARABIAN GOVERNMENT DENIED THIS ALLEGATION
Paper has a long history of bold reporting and controversial reports and had been banned several times in past. Ad Diyar was first published in 1941 as an Arabic political daily. Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud has a stake in the paper.
Ad Diyar was closed by Michel Aoun, then interim Lebanese prime minister and army commander, in January 1990 due to its clash with Aoun policies. The daily was also banned in Syria on 22 April 2009 due to the criticisms of its editor-in-chief pro-Syrian politician Charles Ayoub against another pro-Syrian politician Michel Aoun