Charles Johnson adds a footnote to his post on the Haj stampede that killed 244 Muslim pilgrims yesterday: “Handy tips to avoid stampedes.” He quotes from “A Training Manual for Indian Haj Pilgrims” that includes the following advice:
79. Every year there is invariably a stampede or stampede condition at the site of stoning of the Jamarat. There are two levels from which pilgrims can perform Rami (stoning) Jamarat. Pilgrims should only go to the Jamarat at times allocated for them by the Saudi authorities. Indian Haj officials will come and escort them to the Jamarat at these timings along with officials of the Maktab. In this manner stoning can be done with ease. Pilgrims should never get stuck in a crowd that is not moving or that is observably stationary. They should choose the ground or the top level for stoning as per the assessment of the crowd. Old, infirm, children and women, who are not able to withstand the strain, can depute someone else to stone on their behalf. If it is found that Jamarat site is overcrowded or the movement there is very slow, it is better to turn back immediately and go back to the camp. Keep away from crowds. Pilgrims can go back for th ritual at a better time. One must also be very alert to the fact that some pilgrims of certain nationalities come in bunches and batches and push their way through. Pilgrims should not get into their way or try to stop them as one could get harmed in the process. It will be more sensible to avoid their path and wait till they get out. Do not try to go against the direction of the crowd. Move with the crowd. Do not lose temper and do not fight with others. If required, pilgrims can retrace steps after the rush has passed. It is advisable to move in groups from the camps with the assistance of the Khadim ul Hujaj. The South Asian Moassasa provides schedules for pilgrims according to which they will permit movement for the Jamarat. This will assist pilgrims in finding out the best time for stoning Jamarat.
80. Pilgrims need to remember that there is no need to hurry in any situation. Islam does not enjoin you to suffer bodily harm or risk your life. There are always options available and hence there is no need to hurry and in the process get harmed.