Hyderabad: No journey will be the same again, and that, according to many in Hyderabad, applies to the Haj pilgrimage as well.
Uncertainty continues over this year’s pilgrimage, though about 5,000 persons from across the State have already been selected by the Telangana Haj Committee through the customary draw of lots. Orientation programmes were held in January itself.
However, with the pandemic and the lockdown, the final process has slowed down in Saudi Arabia and the city as well. With the lockdown being lifted and religious activities set to resume, the selected pilgrims are calling up the State Haj Committee to get information about the pilgrimage schedule.
“So far, we have not received any communication from the Central Haj Committee about the pilgrimage. We are conveying the same to the people who are calling us seeking information,” said Mohammed Masiullah Khan, chairman, State Haj Committee.
Usually, the pilgrimage preparations start in June with Haj Committee officials preparing a master plan to accommodate and send pilgrims from the city to Saudi Arabia. The flights for Haj 2020 are scheduled to start from July 7 from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.
“It takes a minimum of a fortnight to inform the people about their flight schedule, conduct the vaccination camp and complete all immigration formalities. With no word from the Central Haj Committee or the Saudi government, there is little hope of the pilgrimage being anywhere similar to the regular ritual with lakhs from across globe descending in Saudi Arabia,” Masiullah Khan says.
On the other hand, State Haj Committee officials say that of those selected for the pilgrimage this year, around 40% were likely to drop their plans due the pandemic.
“People have not officially submitted their intention but we have come to know that many are planning to drop the plan in view of the pandemic. People also fear they will be unable to clear the Covid-19 test as cold, cough, flu and fever are common at this time of the year,” says Khan.
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