The September Hajj stampede killed at least 2,411 pilgrims, a new count shows, three times the number of deaths acknowledged by Saudi Arabia. The figures establish the crush on September 24 as the deadliest in the history of the annual pilgrimage. Saudi's official death toll of 769 people has not changed since September 26, and officials have yet to address the discrepancy.The kingdom rebuffed criticism from its regional rival Iran and efforts by other countries to join a probe into the deaths. Saudi's King Salman ordered an investigation into the tragedy almost immediately, yet few details have been made public since and hundreds of pilgrims remain missing.The new count by the Associated Press agency is based on state media reports and officials' comments from 36 of the over 180 countries that sent citizens to the hajj. Why did the Saudi government not make public the actual number of deaths? Does it have no concern for the suffering of those who lost their loved ones in the stampede? Is it not the responsibility of the Saudi government to ensure the safety of pilgrims? The incident should have been thoroughly probed and those responsible punished for dereliction of duty in controlling the crowd. It is not the first time that a stampede has taken place during Hajj. There are numerous instances over the years when pilgrims were trampled to death due to the mismanagement of the crowd or other reasons. In this particular incident, the principles of justice and accountability have been compromised as the Saudi rulers seem reluctant to fix responsibility for this tragedy. The repetition of incidents of stampede gives an insight into the non-serious and irresponsible attitude of the Saudi rulers. If the Saudi government does not change its attitude, such tragedies will be repeated again and again. If the Saudi government is sincere, first it has to accept its responsibility. The rest of the Islamic world needs to take a joint stance against the irresponsible attitude of the Saudi government that has no regard for human life. Something must be done to avert such disasters that can be avoided by taking better safety measures and applying modern crowd management techniques. In this regard, we can take the example of Iraq that has handled the world’s largest gathering of more than 28 million without any major mishap. Hajj management should be organised by a group of ‘capable’ Muslim countries as the Saudis have clearly failed to manage the pilgrimage. Last but not least, Saudi Arabia should at least acknowledge the correct number of fatalities and make public the truth so that corrective measures could be taken to avoid future disasters. This article originally appeared onShafaqna. com