Indonesia has criticized Saudi Arabia's government for its response to the hajj stampede last week, which left at least 769 people dead and nearly 1,000 injured. Indonesian officials have said it was days before their diplomats were granted access to their citizens who were killed or injured, the Associated Press reported.
"The Saudi Arabian government has its own regulations, tradition, culture and procedures in dealing with such cases," Lukman Hakim Saifudin, Indonesia's religious affairs minister, said in a statement. "This has not allowed us enough freedom in our effort to identify" the victims.
Indonesian diplomats were reportedly only given complete access to the dead and injured Monday night, though some 46 Indonesian pilgrims died and at least 10 were injured in the stampede in the Mina neighborhood of the holy city of Mecca.
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The criticism from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, comes as Saudi Arabia faces heavy international scrutiny for its reaction to Thursday’s disaster. Iran, Saudi Arabia’s longtime regional rival, has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia’s handling of the incident, and has blamed Saudi Arabia for its poor management of holy sites.
At least 228 Iranian pilgrims were killed in the stampede, and 248 were missing, Iranian state television said, according to the AP. During the United Nations General Assembly meeting Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on an investigation into the incident. Protesters have held daily rallies outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia has struggled to accommodate a massive influx of pilgrims during hajj each year. This year’s pilgrimage drew some 2 million people, down from some 3 million people a few years ago. Saudi officials have said the stampede was caused when two large waves of pilgrims converged on a single, narrow path, causing tramping and suffocation.
More than 100 additional people were killed before hajj began, when a construction crane collapsed through the Grand Mosque, a structure that surrounds Islam's holiest site.