First Hajj flight takes off from New Delhi

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New Delhi/Srinagar, Oct 20 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna along with New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit flagged off the inaugural Hajj flight from here on Tuesday.

Offering his best wishes to the Hajj pilgrims before the flight took off, Krishna said: "I request you to pray for the welfare, peace and prosperity of our country and for the humanity. On behalf of the Government of India, I offer my heartiest greetings and extend best wishes for a very successful Hajj."

The flight took off from the Hajj Terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 9.30 a.m.

The Ministry of External Affairs has already issued an advisory for Hajj pilgrims for the prevention of epidemic swine flu while they fly to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The advisory restricts the pilgrims from sharing greetings in the form of shaking the hands and hugging, but mandatory religious habits are acceptable. The other activities which have been restricted by the advisory include spitting in public as well as use of medicines without prescription.

Also, the first Srinagar-Jeddah flight carrying Hajj pilgrims left Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday morning.

Hundreds of visitors from different parts of the valley had arrived outside Bemina Hajj house to see off their relatives.

"God should spread happiness to the entire country especially in Kashmir which has been under turmoil for past many years. We want peace to return and will pray for that," said Masooda Parveen, a Hajj pilgrim.

This year, 7,600 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir would be performing Hajj and 400 pilgrims would be leaving for Jeddah in two flights.

Two new embarkation points have been added this year at Ranchi and Mangalore in order to facilitate travel of Hajj pilgrims from Jharkhand and Karnataka. (ANI)

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