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All Applications for Haj 2021 Cancelled as Saudi Imposes Curbs on International Visitors

File photo of Muslim pilgrims wearing face masks and keeping social distance perform Tawaf around Kaaba during the annual Haj pilgrimage amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

File photo of Muslim pilgrims wearing face masks and keeping social distance perform Tawaf around Kaaba during the annual Haj pilgrimage amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

The Saudi Haj committee has decided to allow citizens and residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only to attend Haj this year.

The Haj Committee of India on Tuesday announced that all the applications for the pilgrimage this year stand cancelled as Saudi Arabia has stated that only a limited number of people residing in the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Haj due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a circular, the committee said that the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has issued a statement informing that due to coronavirus pandemic conditions it has decided to allow citizens and residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only to attend Haj this year in limited numbers and international Haj has been cancelled.

“Hence it has been decided by the Haj Committee of India that all the applications for Haj-2021 stands cancelled," the circular signed by Haj Committee of India’s Chief Executive Officer Maqsood Ahmed Khan read. Lauding Saudi Arabia’s decision in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters, “We had made all the preparations for Haj. However, Saudi Arabia has not allowed people from outside the country to perform Haj in view of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a good decision." Last year also the government had decided that Muslims from India will not travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj 2020 after the Kingdom conveyed that pilgrims should not be sent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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first published:June 15, 2021, 22:58 IST