First batch of 419 Haj pilgrims including 202 women leave
New Delhi, July 3: The first batch of Haj pilgrims was flagged off on Wednesday by Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi from the Indira Gandhi International Airport here. A total of 419 Haj pilgrims, including 202 women, left from Delhi in the first flight.
These Haj pilgrims are from Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh, Agra, Meerut, Rampur and Bulandshahar. Speaking on the occasion, Naqvi said for first time since Independence, a record number of two lakh Indian Muslims, including about 48 per cent women, are going for Haj this year. Honest and transparent system developed by the Modi government has ensured that even after the removal of Haj subsidy, there is no unnecessary financial burden on the Haj pilgrims, the minister said.
Naqvi said the two lakh Indian Muslims are going for Haj this year through more than 500 flights from 21 embarkation points across the country. On Thursday, flights will go from Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati and Srinagar.
Apart from Delhi, Haj pilgrims from UP, Haryana, Uttarakhand, J&K, Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh will also proceed for the pilgrimage from the Delhi embarkation point. Besides Delhi, Haj pilgrims will also embark from Bengaluru (July 7), Calicut (July 7), Cochin (July 14), Goa (July 13), Mangalore (July 17), Mumbai (July 14 and July 21), Srinagar (July 21). In the second phase, flights will go from Ahmedabad (July 20), Aurangabad (July 22), Bhopal (July 21), Chennai (July 31), Hyderabad (July 26), Jaipur (July 20), Kolkata (July 25), Lucknow (July 20), Nagpur (July 25), Ranchi (July 21) and Varanasi (July 29).
Naqvi said the number of women Haj pilgrims going without 'Mehram' or male companion this year has doubled in comparison to last year. As many as 2,340 Muslim women from India are going for Haj without 'Mehram' this year, against 1,180 last year. This year too, the Minority Affairs Ministry has made arrangements to send these women on Haj exempting them from the lottery system.
Naqvi congratulated Haj pilgrims and extended best wishes to them for their pilgrimage. The pilgrims left for Haj with prayers for the country's safety and prosperity. Delhi Revenue and Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot, Minister for Food Imran Hussain, MP Sanjay Singh, Haj Committee of India Acting Chairman Shaikh Jinah Nabi, and Haj Committee of India Member Hasan Baqar Kazmi were among those present on the occasion.