Haj Committee of India cancels Haj 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Haj Committe of India on Tuesday officially cancelled applications for Haj-2021 three days after Saudi Arabia limited this year's pilgrimage to 60,000 pilgrims from within the kingdom in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to allow citizens and residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend Haj 1442 in limited numbers," stated the Haj Committee of India in a press release.

"Hence it had been decided by the Haj Committee of India that all the applications for Haj-2021 stands cancelled, " read the circular.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is honoured to host pilgrims every year, confirms that this arrangement comes out of its constant concern for the health, safety and security of pilgrims as well as the safety of their countries," the statement further said.

Earlier, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on June 10 had said that India will abide by the Saudi Arabia's decision on conducting Haj 2021

Naqvi had held a review meeting regarding Haj 2021 at the Haj House in Mumbai on June 10. "While we have done our preparations, India will go by the decision of the Governement of Saudi Arabia", said Naqvi.

Last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi government had announced that it would hold a "very limited" Hajj, with people already living in the kingdom allowed to take part in the pilgrimage that begins in late July.

More than two million people perform the annual pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca every year, including many travelling from abroad. About 2 lakh Indian Muslims had performed Hajj in 2019.

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