No Pilgrim from India Will Travel to Saudi Arabia for “Haj” This Year: GovtJune 24, 2020 13:23
(Image source from: wionews.com)
Haj 2020 which is set to begin on July 28 in Saudi Arabia will see a significantly low number of pilgrims this year. The country’s ministry said a “very limited number” of pilgrims who reside in the country are only allowed.
Because of the pandemic and the risk of infections spreading, Saudi Arabia’s ministry of Haj has issued a statement on Monday that it would only allow a limited number of pilgrims from its country to perform Haj this year. The government of Saudi Arabia has taken this decision to curb the infection spreading as COVID-19 has spread its wings across 180 countries and as there’s no vaccination or cure till date.
Following the statement issued by the Ministry of Haj, the Indian government took heed to it and announced that no pilgrim would be allowed to travel to the Saudi Arabia this year for Haj.
Union Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, while addressing a press conference said he honors the decision of Saudi Arabian government given the “serious challenges of the corona pandemic and keeping in mind the health and well-being of the people”.
He also said that he had received a call from Saudi Arabia’s Haj minister on Monday and asked Indians to refrain from attending Haj this year for their safety.
He mentioned in the press conference that, like every year the government has received about 2, 13,000 applications this year for Haj. He comforted the people by saying, “The process to refund the full amount of money deposited by applicants has been started immediately without any deductions”. He also mentioned that women applicants who were to attend Haj without Mehram will be allowed to go next year.
There has been a speculation that Saudi Arabia would put off this year’s Haj. If this was to happen, it would have been the first time in history.
Saudi Arabia has recorded 164,144 cases till date and 1346 deaths. More than 100,000 patients have been recovered so far. Though Saudi has been home to 3 million Indians, its government did not release any data on coronavirus cases among expatriates.
By Gayatri Yellayi