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Uncertainty looms over Haj pilgrimage

Hyderabad: Uncertainty continues over Telangana State Haj Committee (TSHC) sending Haj pilgrimage aspirants to perform Haj 2021 from the State though it had, on directions of Haj Committee of India, collected around 3,900 applications.

So far there is no word from the Haj Committee of India on Haj pilgrims’ quota for the year 2021.

“Usually by this time of the year we get to know the quota and draw of lots is also held for selecting the Haj pilgrimage aspirants. But so far we have not received any information about the quota for the State,” said Mohd Masiullah Khan, chairman, Telangana State Haj Committee.

The State Haj Committee has received 3,900 applications from aspirants this year. The number is very less compared to the usual number of applications it receives in normal years. Officials attribute the drop in number of applications to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on people above 65 years and those below 18 years, on undertaking pilgrimage.

“Only pilgrims between 18 and 65 years of age were asked to apply in view of the prevailing situation. So there is a drop in the applications. Now those who have applied are enquiring about the commencement of Haj pilgrimage process,” said Masiullah Khan.

The TSHC conducts orientation programs for the selected Haj pilgrims after the draw of lots is held. “We are ready with the plan. Once the selection of Haj aspirants is completed, the orientation classes will be organised,” he added.

The Union government had informed the Saudi Arabia government that it is ready to vaccinate all those heading for Haj pilgrimage from the country. Still there is no word on quota and other related issues from Saudi Arabia in view of the prevailing situation, officials maintained. Haj was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pilgrimage this year is scheduled from July 17 to 22.

The Haj is costly affair this year with the Union government scrapping the Haj subsidy and due to the pandemic social distancing norms is being followed at hotels and other accommodations and during travel.

Also, the pilgrims would be accommodated only in one category, ‘Azizia’ as against the regular three categories. The ‘rubath’ facility extended by the Nizam Trust would also be not made available for the Haj pilgrimage in 2021.

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