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5000 Indians to get chance for Haj this year

FILE PHOTO: General view of Kaaba as Muslim pilgrims wearing face masks and keeping social distance pray facing Kaaba during the annual Haj pilgrimage amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 31, 2020. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

GUWAHATI: India is likely to be permitted to send a maximum of 5,000 pilgrims for this year’s Haj in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has announced that only 60,000 people from across the world will be allowed for Haj this year with COVID-19 protocol. When 45,000 of them will be from other countries, 15,000 will be domestic pilgrims.

According to a report in The Hindu, the Central Haj Committee officials indicated that they expected about 5,000 pilgrims from India. However, a State-wise breakup of the pilgrims could not be given.

“It will be too early to say how many pilgrims from Kerala will be allowed this year. Last year, no pilgrim from our country could go as the Haj was curtailed in view of the pandemic. This time we are waiting with our fingers crossed,” said Kerala State Haj Committee Chairman C. Mohammed Faizy.

Also, Haj Committee officials said that Saudi Arabia this year would not permit people below 18 years of age and above 60 years of age.

Those who were hospitalized for any disease in the last six months will not be allowed for Haj.

It is to be mentioned that 1.75 lakh pilgrims from India had performed Haj in 2019. About 11,000 of them were from Kerala under the government’s supervision. As many as 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world had gathered in Makkah in 2019.

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