Srinagar, Apr 02 : Hundreds of Hajj aspirants from Jammu and Kashmir are in a dilemma as Saudi Arabia continues to delay the final quota announcement for Indian pilgrims aspiring to perform the holy pilgrimage this year.
Officials at the J&K Hajj office told that so far there has been no official announcement from the Saudi government vis-à-vis Haj 2022. “Even though the Umrah is going on smoothly after an announcement made by the Saudi government in January this year, confusion continues to prevail on Hajj 2022 as there is final quota announcement for India so far,” the official said.
J&K’s Hajj Officer Dr Abdul Salaam Mir said that all the preparations have been completed by them but there is no official word from the Saudi government so far. “We were expecting a quota announcement by March 1 but that got delayed. Till April 2, there is no official quota announcement from the Saudi government,” he said. The Hajj officer said that the moment the Saudi government makes an announcement about Hajj quota, pilgrims registered for the pilgrimage will be asked to prepare.
“We have completed all the formalities from our end that includes registration of applications etc. So far 11000 applications have been received from Haj aspirations from J&K. At All India level, nearly 1,00,000 applications have been received from various States,” he said.
A Hajj Committee official said that Haj remained suspended for two consecutive years 2020 and 2021 in the wake of Covid pandemic. “Now that things seems to have settled down, the Saudi government first announced restoration of Umrah services, but there is no decision so far about Haj quota,” he said, adding that they expect a quota announcement from the Saudi regime for India within a fortnight.
“Given the present improvement in the Covid situation across the globe, it seems that Haj 2022 will take place. Vaccination certificates for both doses are mandatory for every pilgrim undertaking journey,” he said.
Asked whether all the registered pilgrims from J&K would be allowed to proceed for Haj this year, the official said that it depends on the quota. “If quota is good enough, I am sure all will be allowed. If quota is less, we will have to go for draws,” the official said.
The inordinate delay by the Saudi government in announcing Haj quota for 2022 has left hundreds of Hajj aspirants from J&K worried. “I have been applying for Haj since 2020 and for two connective years, Hajj remained banned for pilgrims outside Saudi Arabia due to Covid pandemic. Now that Covid has almost gone, we are in a fix as there is no quota announcement,” said Ghulam Qadir Rather, a resident of Srinagar’s Pantha Chowk area. He hoped that the Saudi government announces the final quota soon so that Hajj aspirants of J&K start preparing for the holy journey.
Hajj is performed on the 10th day of Islamic month of Zilhaj which falls in July this year. Lakhs of Muslims converge in two holy cities of Makah and Madina to perform religious rituals—(KNO)