Saudi Arabia takes measures for safety of Haj pilgrims

T-Mag Sunday 04/September/2016 18:17 PM
By: Times News Service
Saudi Arabia takes measures for safety of Haj pilgrims

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is issuing Haj pilgrims with electronic bracelets and using more surveillance cameras to ensure safety.
The world's largest annual gathering brings some two million to most sacred sites in the holy city of Mecca.
This year, Saudi Arabia has been making efforts to strengthen crowd management.
Thousands of civil servants, security personnel and medics have been conducting drills in preparation for the pilgrimage, which officially starts this week.
The kingdom says it is deploying extra staff and increasing coordination with Haj missions from pilgrims' home countries to ensure worshippers comply with agreed schedules to perform various rituals. Hundreds of new surveillance cameras had been installed at the Grand Mosque.
"The scheduling programme is the most important part of the operational programme," Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Turki told Reuters.
"This is the area we have to concentrate on, to make sure pilgrims...comply with it once they get there."
Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al Awsat said last month the Mecca Development Authority had set up electronic paths and gates to manage crowds heading to Jamarat, the symbolic stoning of the devil.
The kingdom also is kitting pilgrims out with electronic wristbands to enable authorities to track the flow of people and get early warnings of crowd build-ups.
Wary that some pilgrims may seek to use Haj for ideological purposes, Saudi Arabia said it would not tolerate any attempt to politicise Haj.