Haj pilgrims fail to get visa, lament mismanagement

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Lucknow/Karippur (Kerala), Oct 31 : At least 290 Haj pilgrims here failed to catch their flight for the annual pilgrimage due to the lack of visas.

The pilgrims were to leave for Jeddah on Thursday.

"I have checked thrice since morning. When I asked on Wednesday they said passports would be here. When I asked again, they said passports are still not there," said Muhammad Hanif, a pilgrim.

Officials said the mistake was on the part of the Foreign Ministry.

"It was the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry," said Nizamuddin Siddique, President of Uttar Pradesh Haj committee.

Meanwhile, maiden flight of national carrier Air India with 419 Muslim devotees took off from Kerala's Karippur Airport for Jeddah.

The Boeing 747 flight carrying 174 male and 245 female pilgrims on board was the first flight to set off for annual Haj pilgrimage from the state.

The Haj involves week-long celebrations and takes place nearly seventy days after the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It includes several ceremonies symbolising the essential concepts of the Islamic faith.

Mecca is the place where Prophet Mohammed propagated Islam.

Millions of pilgrims undertake the journey each year from all over the world.

ANI

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