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COVID-19 negative report must for Hajj pilgrims next year

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Mumbai/Srinagar: Hajj pilgrims will have to submit COVID-19 negative report 72 hours prior to their journey to Saudi Arabia in 2021, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Saturday.

After holding a meeting with the Hajj Committee and other stake-holders, the Minister for Minority Affairs told reporters that December 10 is the last date for submitting applications for Hajj pilgrimage 2021.

“The applicants can apply online, off-line or through Hajj mobile application as well. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, we are making it mandatory for all the pilgrims to submit their COVID-19 negative report of RT-PCR test. The date of testing should be 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Naqvi also said embarking points for Hajj 2021 have been reduced to ten in view of the COVID-19 situation and the feedback received from Air India and other agencies.

Previously, there were 21 such embarking locations across the country.

He said the ten boarding spots are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.

Naqvi said applications filled for Hajj 2020 by women in “without ‘mehram’ (male companion)” category are valid for Hajj 2021 as well.

“Besides, new applications are also being accepted from women who want to perform Hajj 2021 without mehram,” he said.

The minister also said Muslim women applying in “without mehram” category will be exempted from the lottery system.

Pertinently, the Hajj Committee of India vide Circular no. 01 has invited online Hajj Application Forms with from November 07, 2020.

Before filing the application form online, the concerned Hajj aspirant/aspirants have been asked to go through the Provisional Hajj Guidelines for Hajj 2021 available at Hajj Committee website

The last date for submission of online Hajj Application Form has been fixed as December 10, 2020.

In an official press release here, the J&K Hajj Committee today said the persons in the age group of 18–65 years can only apply for Hajj 2021 (i.e., those applicants who not have completed the age of 18 years as on 07th of November 2020 and who have completed 65 years of age on or before 07th of November 2020 cannot apply.)

It has also been informed that any person not in possession of machine readable international passport issued on or before 10th of December 2020 (last Date of Submission of Online Haj Application Form) and having validity not at least upto 10th of January 2022 cannot apply for Hajj 2021.

Any person having performed Hajj already through Hajj Committee of India is not eligible for Hajj 2021. However, a repeater shall be allowed to proceed for Hajj as a mehram of a female pilgrim if no other mehram is available in the family, subject to the condition that the lady aspirant should not have performed Hajj till date.

“It shall also be noted that in case a lady pilgrim cancels her pilgrimage then the seat of male pilgrim (mehram) gets cancelled automatically,” the press release informs.

Besides, those aspirants having severe medical ailments such as terminal cancers, heart condition, comorbidities, advanced cardiac, respiratory, liver, or kidney diseases, infectious tuberculosis disease, or senility are strictly not allowed at this stage due to the prevailing Covid – 19 situations, the press release says.

It says the pregnant women, infants and children below the age of 18 years in view of coronavirus pandemic are strictly restricted for Hajj 2021 as of now.

The person against whom any court order prohibiting him/her to travel abroad exists can also not apply.

Due to prevailing pandemic the cover size has been reduced from five to three i.e., only three pilgrims can be accommodated in one cover. As such, the concerned aspirants shall plan their cover size accordingly, the press release directs.

It says the intending pilgrims have to fill in Hajj Application Forms online only at the website of Hajj Committee of India or through Android Mobile App “HAJ COMMITTEE OF INDIA” available on Google Playstore. Intending pilgrims shall have to upload the necessary documents as indicated in Hajj Guidelines. No hard copies of handwritten/typed applications will be accepted by the J&K Hajj Committee at this stage, the press release says.

It says that for any clarification the J&K Hajj Committee shall be approached through telephone numbers 0194-2495367 and 0194-2495365 during office hours.

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