Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has flagged off the first batch of Haj pilgrims today. He said the preparations for ensuring a smooth pilgrimage have been completed.
The first batch of 410 Haj pilgrims from Delhi left for Saudi Arabia from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Over 1,28,700 pilgrims will be facilitated by the government through the Haj Committee of India this year.
How many pilgrims are leaving for Saudi today?
Over 1,200 Haj pilgrims are leaving Delhi for Saudi Arabia in three flights today. Besides Delhi, 450 pilgrims from Gaya, 269 from Guwahati, 900 from Lucknow, and 1,020 pilgrims from Srinagar are also leaving for Saudi Arabia today for Haj.
Haj 2018 organized as per new Haj Policy
Ministry of Minority Affairs, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia Haj Consulate, Haj Committee of India, and other concerned agencies, completed "Haj 2018" preparations well before time to ensure a smooth pilgrimage, Naqvi said.
Noting that Haj 2018 is being organized according to the new Haj Policy, the Minister said it had made the entire Haj process transparent and ensured better facilities for the pilgrims.
No additional financial burden on Haj pilgrims this year: Naqvi
Naqvi said despite the Haj subsidy removal and various new taxes imposed in Saudi Arabia, there was no additional financial burden on the pilgrims.
He also said airlines would be paid Rs. 57cr less this year compared to 2017 for Haj pilgrims traveling through Haj Committee of India.
For the first time after Independence, 1,75,025 Muslims from India are going for Haj this year.
1,308 Muslim women are traveling without 'Mehram' this time
Naqvi said that over 47% of the pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia through the HCoI are females this year. For the first time, 1,308 Muslim women are traveling without "Mehram" or male companion.
Pilgrims from Kolkata, Varanasi, and Mangaluru will embark on the Haj pilgrimage on 17 July, 20 July, and 21 July, respectively, while pilgrims from Goa, on 26 July.
Haj pilgrims from other cities
Haj pilgrims from Aurangabad, Chennai, Mumbai, and Nagpur, will leave for Mecca on 29 July while pilgrims from Ranchi, on 30 July. On 1 August, pilgrims from Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Hyderabad, Jaipur will embark on the pilgrimage; those from Bhopal will leave on 3 August.