New Delhi, June 23: This year Indian Muslims will not be performing Haj in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minority Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Tuesday.
Naqvi informed that he received a phone call from Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten, Saudi Minister for Haj and Umrah, on Monday who advised against sending pilgrims from India.
Honouring the decision of the Saudi Arabia Government and keeping in mind the health and well-being of the people, it has been decided that Muslims from India will not go to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj, he said.
Naqvi said that the entire world is facing challenges of Corona pandemic and Saudi Arabia has also been affected by it.
The process of refunding the full amount of money deposited by the applicants without any deduction has begun today. The money will be refunded through online DBT mode into bank accounts of the applicants, he said.
The Minister further said that around two lakh thirteen thousand applications had been received for Haj this year, including more than 2300 women, who had applied to perform Haj without Mehram.
These women will be allowed to go to Haj 2021 on the basis of their application for Haj 2020 and besides, women who file a new application, will also be allowed to go to Haj next year, the Minister added.
Late last night, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Haj and Umrah issued a statement which says “Due to Corona pandemic and the risks of Coronavirus spreading in crowded spaces and large gatherings, it has been decided that Haj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia, would be able to perform it.
‘This decision is taken to ensure Haj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols.”