Arrangements being made to vaccinate Haj pilgrims: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said arrangements are being made to administer coronavirus vaccines to those going from India for the Haj pilgrimage. He spoke after chairing a meeting of the Haj Committee of India officials and Haj Group organizers at Haj House in south Mumbai. The Haj will take place in July.
50 percent of the total applicants so far are women
"The last date for submission of application forms for Haj 2021 is January 10," he said. "Embarkation point-wise estimated cost per Haj pilgrim has been reduced," he added. Naqvi said around 50 percent of the total applicants so far are women and over 700 women have so far applied under the without mehram (male companion) category.
Embarkation points for Haj 2021 reduced to 10
Over 2,100 women who had applied for Haj 2020 under that category will go to Haj 2021 as the application filled up by them for Haj 2020 is also valid for 2021, a statement from the minister's office said. Keeping in view the pandemic and feedback from Air India and other agencies, embarkation points for Haj 2021 have been reduced to 10.
Saudi Arabia authorities did not permit outsiders last year
The ten embarkation points are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Srinagar. Earlier, there were 21 Haj embarkation points across the country. Last year, Saudi authorities had announced in June that due to the pandemic, pilgrims from outside the Kingdom would not be permitted to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Haj.
What is Haj?
Mecca in Saudi Arabia is the holiest city for Muslims. The Haj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to the city of Mecca that must be carried out at least once by all adult Muslims who are capable of undertaking the journey.