New Delhi (NVI): Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, today announced guidelines for the Haj pilgrimage, with significant changes, keeping in view the coronavirus pandemic, as the online application process for Haj 2021 started today.
Naqvi while announcing Haj 2021 at Haj House, Mumbai, said that national-international Protocol Guidelines due to Pandemic Position will be implemented and they will be followed strictly during Haj 2021.
The last date of applying for the pilgrimage is December 10 and people can apply online, offline and also through Haj mobile application, a Ministry of Minority Affairs statement said.
Naqvi said that Haj is scheduled for June-July 2021, and the entire process is being held according to the necessary guidelines issued by the Saudi Arabia Government and the Government of India in view of coronavirus pandemic to ensure health and well-being of the people.
The statement also noted, the Haj 2021 process has been chalked out after deliberations among Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Haj Committee of India, Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and India’s Consul General in Jeddah and other agencies keeping in view all aspects of the pandemic challenges.
Naqvi further said that the arrangements for Haj 2021 have been made under special circumstances with special norms, rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, age restrictions, health and fitness requirements and other relevant conditions of the Saudi Arabia government.
He added that these changes include accommodation, period of stay of pilgrims, transportation, health and other facilities both in India and Saudi Arabia.
The minister also said that all the necessary guidelines for Haj 2011 will be implemented strictly, including changes in age criteria for performing Haj.
He stated that each pilgrim will have to undergo coronavirus test 72 hours before Haj journey as per prevailing international air travel protocol. Each pilgrim will have to submit a PCR test certificate issued by approved laboratory with a negative result
before journey to Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, the embarkation points for Haj 2021 have been reduced to 10 after feedback from Air India and other agencies. Earlier, there were 21 Haj embarkation points across the country.
The statement further said that, for Haj 2021, the 10 embarkation points are- Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.
“Ahmedabad embarkation point will cover entire Gujarat; Bengaluru will cover entire Karnataka; Cochin (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar); Delhi (Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh; Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, western districts of Uttar Pradesh); Guwahati (Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland); Kolkata (West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, Bihar); Lucknow; Mumbai (Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli) and Srinagar embarkation point will cover Jammu-Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh-Kargil,” it added.
Meanwhile, the application filled for Haj 2020 by women under without “Mehram” (male companion) category is valid for Haj 2021 also. Besides, new forms are also being accepted from the women, who wants to perform Haj 2021 without “Mehram”, the statement said
“All the women under “without Mehram” category will be exempted from the lottery system,” it added.