- Arts & Entertainment
- All Stories
New Delhi, June 23, 2020
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said that, honouring the decision of Saudi Arabia Government to restrict the number of Haj pilgrims in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Muslims from India would not be going to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage this year.
Addressing the media, the Minister said he received a phone call from Haj & Umrah Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten yesterday. The Minister had suggested not to send Haj pilgrims from India for this year (1441 H/2020 AD) due to the pandemic.
He said they discussed the matter at length and agreed that the entire world was facing challenges of coronavirus pandemic and Saudi Arabia has also been affected by the virus.
Naqvi said 2,13,000 applications had been received for Haj 2020. The process to immediately refund the full amount of money deposited by the applicants has started today. The money will be refunded through online DBT mode into bank accounts of the applicants.
The Minister informed that this year, more than 2300 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. Besides, women who file new application will also be allowed to go to Haj next year.
Naqvi said a total of 2 lakh Indian Muslims had performed Haj in 2019. These pilgrims included 50% of 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.
Late last night, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Haj and Umrah issued a statement. “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 a 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,” it added.