Number Of Pilgrims To Be Decided Within A Week: JKHC

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Srinagar: The Hajj committee of India is likely to take the final call on the number of pilgrims to be allowed to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the world, a senior J&K Hajj Committee official said Thursday.

“As of now, no communiqué has been forwarded by the Indian Hajj Committee about the number of pilgrims from Kashmir to be allowed to perform the holy pilgrimage this year. However, a decision in this regard is to be expected within a week,” J&K Hajj Committee’s Executive Officer Abdul Salam Mir told Kashmir Observer Thursday.

Mir said that around 8200 people have submitted applications with the J&K Hajj Committee to undertake this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.

“We have made vaccination mandatory for all those who would be scheduled to perform Hajj this year and no one will be allowed to proceed for the pilgrimage without submitting a government issued vaccination certificate.” Salam said.

He further said that the intending pilgrims should submit information regarding coronavirus vaccine on the official website of Hajj Committee of India at www.hajcommittee.gov.in.

Quoting the report forwarded by the Health Minister of Saudi Arabia and a letter from the Haj Committee of India, the Executive Officer said that pilgrims need to get two doses of vaccine before departing for the annual pilgrimage.

Pertinently, Saudi has recently laid out new guidelines for the people intending to take Hajj pilgrimage. According to Saudi government, people under the age of 18 and above 60 years won’t be eligible to undergo pilgrimage. Besides it, a negative PCR test conducted 40 hours before dispatching to the area of pilgrimage in Saudi-approved laboratories is another condition announced by Riyadh. Also, the new rules say that Hajj pilgrimage should be done by following strict health protocols and guidelines.

The Saudi authorities have also said that the pilgrims shouldn’t have a history of sickness or hospitalization prior 6 months from the date of travel.

Last year, only 10,000 residents of Saudi were allowed to take part in the annual pilgrimage compared to 2.5 million Muslims from around the world a year earlier.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

A media graduate from LPU, Zaid Bin Shabir is a Srinagar based journalist whose works have appeared in many local and international publications.

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