Saudi Arabia suggests India not to send Haj pilgrims this year

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says that 2 lakh 13,000 applications had been received for Haj 2020.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said that in view of the coronavirus pandemic and the well-being of the people, Muslims from India will not go to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj (1441 H/2020 AD).

The decision was taken honouring the Saudi Arabia Government suggestion not to send pilgrims from India to Haj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) due to coronavirus pandemic, Naqvi told reporters.

Naqvi said he received a phone call from Haj and Umrah Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten late Monday and the Saudi Arabia Minister suggested not to send pilgrims from India to Haj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) due to Corona pandemic.

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Haj and Umrah has issued a statement stating that “due to Corona pandemic and the risks of Coronavirus spreading in crowded spaces and large gatherings, it has been decided that Haj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia, would be able to perform it. This decision is taken to ensure Haj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols.”

The minister said that 2 lakh 13,000 applications had been received for Haj 2020. The process has been started to immediately refund full amount of money deposited by the applicants without any deduction. The money will be refunded through online DBT mode into bank accounts of the applicants.

Naqvi informed that this year, over 2,300 women had applied to perform Haj without Mehram. These women will be allowed to go to Haj 2021 on the basis of their application for Haj 2020 only. Besides, women who file new application will also be allowed to go to Haj next year.

The minister said that a total of 2 lakh Indian Muslims had performed Haj in 2019. These pilgrims included 50 per cent women. A total of 3,040 women have performed Haj after the government ensured Muslim women can perform Haj without Mehram (male companion) in 2018, he said in a PIB release.

First Published:June 23, 2020, 2:42 p.m.