Haj 2022 application process to start in November, selection based on Covid-appropriate criteria.

The selection criteria of Haj pilgrims will be decided by the Indian and Saudi governments and the official announcement of the next year’s Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca will be made in the first week of November, Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Friday. Chairing the Haj review meeting in New Delhi, Naqvi said the selection process of Haj pilgrims will be in accordance with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) guidelines, including the mandatory vaccination for the pilgrims.

Naqvi added the significant and important changes in the entire Haj process include accommodation, period of stay of pilgrims, transportation, health and other facilities both in India and Saudi Arabia.

The process of online application will also start along with the official announcement, according to the minority affairs ministry. The Haj pilgrims will be provided with Digital Health Card, “E-MASIHA” health facility and “E-luggage pre-tagging” for all information regarding accommodation and transportation in Mecca and Medina, the two major Islamic pilgrimage sites in Saudi Arabia.

The ministry said that the entire Haj 2022 process will be 100 per cent digital in India, the country which sends the second largest number of Haj pilgrims.

As the arrangements for Haj 2022 are being made during a pandemic, the process will be in accordance with the rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, age restrictions, health and fitness requirements and other relevant conditions of the Saudi Arabia government. Four ministries, the Haj Committee of India, the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and India’s Consul General in Jeddah and other agencies have been involved in the deliberations regarding the Haj process.

The applications of more than 3000 women who had applied for Haj 2020 and 2021 under without “Mehram” (male companion) category will be eligible for Haj 2022 also if they want to perform Haj next year, according to ministry citing Naqvi.

All the women under without “Mehram” category will be exempted from the lottery system.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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