Only 32,500 applicants apply for Hajj this year

Jammu and Kashmir Hajj committee has received 32,500 applications for Hajj pilgrimage this year which is lesser in comparison to corresponding years and the draw of lots to select around 8000 seats will be held in mid-January, official said.

Chief executive officer state Hajj committee Qamar Sajjad said “We have received around 32,500 applications for intending aspirants. Out of this, around 8000 and few additional mehram seats are allocated to the state of Jammu and Kashmir by the Hajj committee of India which will be selected through draw of lots,” he said.

 “Draw of lots (Qurrah) for the selection of Hajj-2018 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir would be held by Hajj Committee of India Mumbai and the real time computerized selections shall be displayed from mid January,” he said adding that they have not received any intimation about the final date for draw of lots for applicants of Jammu and Kashmir.

J&K’s share is 4.7 percent of the total number of seats allotted by the Saudi government to India which accounts to around 6000 seats. Besides, JK would get additional 2000 seats.

He reiterated that from this year there will be only one reservation category that is of above 70 years old.

Further, Sajad said, mehram (persons who can accompany a female to Hajj) seats have also been increased from 200 to 500, which will be allocated to all states proportionately.

As per new Hajj policy, the reservation for the fourth-time applicants has been scrapped; but aspirants above 70 years of age will continue to remain eligible for travel without having to go through draw of lots.

It may be recalled that more than three lakh people applying for the holy pilgrimage through the Haj Committee of India till now, a senior official said on Sunday.

Out of the applications, over 1,000 applicants are women who hope to go on the pilgrimage without a ‘Mehram’.

The government of India has for the first time decided to allow women pilgrims over the age of 45 to undertake the pilgrimage in groups of at least four sans ‘Mehram’.

The term Mehram refers to a male, a woman cannot marry in her life (i.e. father, brother or son etc.). Till now, women pilgrims would be required to be accompanied by ‘Mehram’ during the annual pilgrimage.

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