Date for Submission of Passport for NRI Haj Pilgrims Extended
The Haj Committee of India has extended the date of submission of the original passports of NRI Haj pilgrims to April 30.
Keeping in line with the demands of Non-Resident Indians who will embark on the Haj pilgrimage in August, the Haj Committee of India on March 13 extended the date of submission of the original passports of NRI Haj pilgrims to April 30. This is a revision from the circular issued last month that said the date of submission was April 15.
Dr Maqsood Ahmad Khan, the chief executive officer of the Haj Committee of India, issued a circular that said: “The last date of submission of original passport for NRI pilgrims is hereby extended upto April 30. It is hereby notified that the pilgrims must adhere to the last date for submission of original passport for NRI pilgrims as prescribed by Haj Committee of India.”
The Haj Committee of India arranges for Indians and Indians living abroad, who have been selected, to take the pilgrimage to Mecca. The circular has instructed NRIs to contact offices of State Haj Committees of the Indian states where they stay for submission of their passports.
In other related news, the Supreme Court of India on March 13 ordered the earmarking of an “exclusive quota” for Haj pilgrims aged 70 years and above, and those pilgrims in the age group of 65 to 69 years who have already applied for the pilgrimage five times or more get benefit of policy decided by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, IANS reported. The court was hearing a plea by the Kerala Haj committee, which asked for more quota for the Haj pilgrimage because of its overwhelming number of applicants.
While the Indian government had, in view of the 2012 Supreme Court order, abolished subsidies to pilgrims earlier this year, the BJP-led government announced significant reduction in airfare for the pilgrims in the end of February. The reduction is applicable to passages on Air India, Saudi Airlines and Saudi Arabia-based carrier Flynas to Jeddah and Medina from 21 airports in India.
Haj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is an annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca. The pilgrimage is considered a duty for Muslims all over the world and is to be carried out at least once in their lifetime.