Coronavirus shatters Hajj dreams of thousands of Indian Muslims

Sunday, June 7, 2020

With the Hajj Committee announcing full refunds of the fees for the ensuing Hajj 2020 season, the pilgrimage dreams of thousands of Muslim faithfuls are shattered.

From Maharashtra, around 10,500 Muslims were selected and were scheduled to go on the most important pilgrimage of their life.

Coupled with the Central Hajj Committee's decision to give the full refund to the pilgrims, Chairman of Maharashtra State Haj Committee Jamal Siddiqui feels Haj 2020 may remain just a desire for Muslims, but nobody can be blamed for it.

This year, an estimated 200,000 Muslims from India were planning to perform Hajj, including over 125,000 through the Haj Committees, and the rest around 47,000 through private Hajj Tour operators.

Indian Haj & Umrah Tours Operators' Welfare Association (IHUTOWA) President Syed A. R. Milli said that the demand for compensation is unjustified, but he supported the demand to carry forward this year's list of pilgrims to the 2021 Hajj season.

Pilgrims going through the Hajj Committees pay up Rs 201,000 (Rs. 2 lakh and one thousand), those in the Green Category pay Rs 2.90 lakhs.

Those opting for the private Hajj tour operators are required to pay between Rs 3.50 lakhs to Rs 12 lakhs depending on Gold, Silver or Bronze category of the applications, said Milli.

Incidentally, in May this year, the much-anticipated Ramzan Umrah was suspended for the first time.

The first flight for Hajj - starting on July 28, 2020 - was scheduled to depart from Mumbai and other parts of India from June 22, and the return flights were expected by August.

The visa endorsement and other final processes were due to start from May 8 onwards, but it was not taken up in view of the coronavirus pandemic, and several countries opted to cancel their own Hajj plans, according to Siddiqui.