New Delhi, Jan 9: Now more pilgrims can proceed for Haj this year as Saudi Arabia on Tuesday increased Indias quota of pilgrims by 5,000.
The decision by Riyadh came days after Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi signed a bilateral annual agreement for Haj 2018 with Saudi Minister for Haj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten.
With this hike, a total of 1.75 lakh Indian citizens can go for Haj. Last year, Saudi Arabia increased India’s Haj quota by 35,000, the Minority Affairs Ministry said.
Saudi Arabia on Monday has also given a nod to India’s decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims by sea. Officials from both countries will soon discuss all the necessary formalities and technicalities regarding this.
About 3.55 lakh applications have been received for Haj this year. The Haj Committee of India will finalise the names of those who can go this year for Haj through a lucky draw.
However, around 1,300 Muslim women who have applied to go for the pilgrimage without a ‘mehram’ (male guardian) will be exempt from the lucky draw and all of them will be allowed to go, the minister added.