Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that a large number of Muslim women are likely to go to Haj 2019 without “Mehram” (male companion). More than 2100 women have applied to go to Haj 2019 without “Mehram”, he added. The Minister was speaking in Jeddah today after signing signed bilateral annual Haj 2019 agreement between India and Saudi Arabia with Haj and Umrah Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten.
For the first time, Naqvi said that the Centre’s Narendra Modi Government had lifted ban on women going to Haj without Mehram last year, which resulted into about 1300 Indian Muslim women went on Haj 2018 without any male companion. They had been exempted from the lottery system. For the first time, more than 100 women Haj Coordinators and Haj Assistants had been deployed to assist Indian women Haj pilgrims in 2018.
The Minister said that Haj Committee of India has received more than 2 lakh 47 thousand applications yet for Haj 2019. This includes about 47 per cent women. For the first time after the Independence, a record number of Muslims from India performed Haj 2018 and that too without any subsidy.
Record 1,75,025 Muslims from India performed Haj 2018 which include about 48 per cent women. The Indian Government has requested the Saudi Arabia Government to increase India’s annual Haj quota for Haj 2019 also. Naqvi said that making the Haj process completely online/ digital has helped to make the entire Haj process transparent and pro-pilgrims. For Haj 2019, about 1 lakh 36 thousand online applications have been received.