1,308 women to perform Haj without male guardians: Naqvi
Mumbai, Apr 22 : A total of 1,308 women from the country will, for the first time, perform Haj without the company of a ‘mahram’ or male guardian, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said today.
The minister was in the city to participate in a training programme organised for Haj pilgrims.
“A total of 1,308 women have applied to go for Haj without a ‘mahram’. These women have been exempted from the lottery system and will be allowed to proceed to perform Haj,” he told reporters.
The minister said that it was the first time that women from India would be going for the pilgrimage without a male guardian.
Naqvi said that 3,55,604 applications had been received for Haj and this number comprised 1,89,217 men and 1,66,387 women.
“This year, a total of 1,28,002 pilgrims will go to perform Haj through the Haj Committee of India. Women comprise 47 per cent of this number. Another 47,023 Haj pilgrims will go through private tour operators,” he said.
The pilgrimage will he held in August.
Naqvi said that women Haj assistants will be deployed to help women pilgrims and monitor facilities provided to them, adding that this too was a first-time feature for the country.
“In 2017, the government paid Rs 1,030 crore to various airlines for flying 1,24,852 pilgrims. In 2018, the payment for this would be Rs 973 crore and the number of pilgrims would be 1,28,002,” the minister said.
This figure is Rs 57 crore less than what was paid, he said.
Naqvi said that the Union government’s decision to allow Haj pilgrims to choose the embarkation point most suited to them, instead of the earlier practice of fixing such a point for them, was benefiting those going to perform Haj.
“Due to this new rule by the Union government, Haj pilgrims can board a flight from the airport most convenient for them. It has saved the government a lot of money,” he added.