New Delhi: A record 200,000 Indian Muslims are expected to perform the Haj pilgrimage this year, including 160,000 through the Haj Committee of India and the rest through Haj Group Organisers, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here on Saturday.
He said that the HGOs would take 10,000 pilgrims at the rates finalized by the Haj Committee. The pilgrims will leave by more than 500 flights from 21 embarkation points all over India.
Naqvi also said that the number of women Haj pilgrims going without ‘Mehram’ (male escort) will be 2,340, or double of last year’s 1,180 who went for the most important pilgrimage in the life of a Muslim.
“This year too, the ministry has made arrangement to send these women for Haj without the lottery system. Of the 200,000 total pilgrims, women would be around 48 per cent,” Naqvi said at the inaugural of the newly-renovated hall of the Haj House here.
The main date for Haj pilgrimage this year is August 9, in the Dhul Hijjah month, 1440, as per the Islamic calendar, and it will continue for five days.
The flights from India for Haj 2019 will start in from next Thursday (July 4) from New Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati and Srinagar and other cities in phases.
In the first phase, pilgrims will start flying from Bengaluru and Calicut on July 7, Goa on July 13, Kochi on July 14, and from Mangaluru on July 17.
Mumbai and Srinagar pilgrims will start departing in two phases: July 4 (Srinagar) and July 14 (Mumbai) and from July 21 (both cities).
In the second phase, flights will start departing from Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Jaipur on July 20, Ranchi and Bhopal on July 21, Aurangabad on July 22, Kolkata and Nagpur on July 25, Hyderabad on July 26, Varanasi on July 29, and Chennai on July 31.
Naqvi noted that this is the first time since Independence that such a large number of Muslims from India will go to perform Haj without any subsidy while ensuring there was no unnecessary financial burden on the pilgrims.