Over 1,000 single Muslim women apply for Haj pilgrimage

Over 1,000 single Muslim women apply for Haj pilgrimage

Over 1000 Muslim women have so far applied for Haj pilgrimage without 'mehram' (male companion) and the numbers are still growing.

This comes after the Centre lifted a ban on Muslim women going for Haj without mehram recently.

In view of the "overwhelming" response, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has now extended the last date for submission of Haj applications up to December 22.

According to the new policy, women above 45 years of age, who wish to go for the Haj but do not have a male companion, are allowed to embark on the annual pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina in Saudi Arabia in groups of four or more women.

"The decision to lift the ban has generated very positive results. Muslim women, from across the country, are applying in large numbers to go for Haj without Mehram," Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Thursday.

He also launched a web portal for private tour operators (PTOs), saying it was aimed at ensuring transparency.

"Through this portal, the PTOs can apply online with the required documents. The applications will be scrutinised by the Haj Division of the minority affairs ministry. After this, a draw of lots will be done online and the quota will be allocated. It has also been clearly instructed that any discrepancies in facilities for Haj pilgrims going through PTOs will not be tolerated," Naqvi added.

Though there is a web portal, an official said that pilgrims, including PTOs, can also submit applications by hand.

The government started receiving applications for Haj 2018 on November 15.

More than 2.63 lakh people have applied for undertaking the annual pilgrimage till December 13.

Out of this, 1.38 lakh applications have been received online.

Several Muslim organisations, including executive committee member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, had objected to the revised Haj Policy, accusing the government of meddling with the Sharia law.

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