Governor Satya Pal Malik Thursday flagged off the first flight of Hajj pilgrims from Srinagar Airport, carrying 152 devotees to the holy city of Madina.
A Hajj House spokesman said 304 Hajj pilgrims left for the pilgrimage on the first day from Srinagar Airport in two flights which included 160 male and 144 female pilgrims.
Earlier, in the morning, Hajj House in Bemina which wore a festive look witnessed emotional scenes as relatives of the pilgrims saw them off. Most of pilgrims were dressed in pristine white outfits. They were also greeted by passers-by while travelling to the airport.
“I am very happy and hopeful that our pilgrimage finds acceptance. Prayers would be that our lives be full of joy and entire Muslim community, especially Kashmir, witnesses peace and prosperity,” said a pilgrim. “We are visiting a pious destination, it is a matter of happiness for us all. I pray each one of us gets to perform Hajj one day. The facilities at the Hajj House are satisfactory,” said a female pilgrim.
According to State Hajj Committee, 11,700 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir will embark on the holy journey to Saudi Arabia this year in daily flights, with the last flight taking off from Srinagar Airport on July 29. For return, the flights are scheduled between August 16 and September 11.
The Governor interacted with a number of Hajj pilgrims and wished them for their safe and satisfying pilgrimage. Governor urged the pilgrims to pray for welfare and development of the state.
As per a Hajj House official, the first flight had 67 pilgrims from Srinagar, 50 from Baramulla, 11 from Budgam, 8 from Kupwara, 5 from Anantnag, 5 from Pulwama, 4 from Bandipora and 2 from Shopian.
Executive Officer, J&K State Hajj Committee, Abdul Salaam Mir, said among the 11,700 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir, 50 Khadim-ul-Hujjaj shall perform pilgrimage this year.
“Among these pilgrims, 750 would embark from Delhi while the rest would embark on the holy journey from Srinagar,” Mir said.
Director, Srinagar International Airport, Akash Deep Mathur said all the flights of budget carrier SpiceJet carrying Hajj pilgrims took off as per schedule. “We have kept in place special arrangements to ensure hassle free journey of Hajj pilgrims.” Mathur said.
SpiceJet, which is operating Hajj flights from J&K for first time will operate 148 flights from and to Srinagar to ferry pilgrims for this year’s Hajj, said a statement issued by the airliner.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chairman Hajj Committee of India, Shaikh Jina Nabi, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, S P Pani, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar, Executive Officer, J&K State Hajj Committee, Abdul Salam Mir, besides other members of Hajj Committee of India were present on the occasion of flagging off ceremony at the airport.