First batch of Haj pilgrims from Srinagar depart for Saudi Arabia

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): The first batch of pilgrims from Srinagar departed for Medina in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to perform Haj.

Speaking to ANI, a Haj pilgrim said, “We are thankful to the (central) government for extending us all necessary help. We are delighted that Allah has chosen us to perform Haj at such a young age. I will pray for lasting peace and happiness in Kashmir.”

The first batch of pilgrims embarked on the annual Haj pilgrimage from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in the early hours of Thursday.

“Today, the first flight for Haj 2024 departed for Medinah at 2.20 am (May 9) with 285 people onboard. I wish to congratulate all the pilgrims and wish them a safe journey. The support and facilities for the pilgrims have been getting better under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We have introduced the ‘Har Suvidha’ mobile application this year for the convenience of the pilgrims as well as their security during the journey.

In the event of an emergency or an unforeseen situation, the app will connect a pilgrim directly to the control room and help centre. As many as 16,500 pilgrims are registered to depart Delhi for Haj this year,” Kausar Jahan, the chairperson of the Delhi State Haj Committee.

Meanwhile, officials in Rajasthan’s Pali district said about 80 pilgrims were to be vaccinated before departing for Saudi Arabia. Mohammed Ayyub Khan, chairman of the state’s Haj Committee, said, “Proper arrangements for inoculation have been made for the Haj pilgrims this year. Vaccines against polio, influenza and Mangalore meningitis are being administered to the pilgrims before they depart for Haj. We all saw how vaccines turned out to be life-savers during the Covid-19 pandemic. It thus explains the significance of the vaccination camp.”

Dr Shri Ram Yadav, chief health officer, Pali said, “A total of 80 pilgrims are to be administered vaccines ahead of the pilgrimage. Of them, 70 have already received their shots.” Muktesh K Pardeshi, secretary, Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs, conducted a review of preparations for Haj 2024 in Jeddah and Medinah, on Tuesday.

Haj is among the five pillars of Islam, with the others being Shahada (faith), Salah (prayer), Zakat (Donation) and Roza (fasting). Every year, millions of Muslims around the world embark on the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca. The spiritual journey is considered by believers of the Islamic faith to be immensely significant as it affords them an opportunity to connect with Allah, seek forgiveness, and strengthen their faith.

The desire to be among those walking to Mina, echoing the Labaik with the crowd, and performing the rituals of Hajj is a sentiment shared by countless Muslims across the globe. Hajj draws people from different walks of life towards a common purpose–setting aside their differences and embracing one another as equals before Allah.

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