First batch of 644 Hajj pilgrims leaves for Saudi Arabia

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Hajj

SRINAGAR — Amidst the emotions and joys, the first batch of Hajj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir left for Saudi Arabia on Thursday to perform the pilgrimage this year.

Executive Officer (EO), J&K Hajj Committee, Dr Shujhat Qureshi told the news agency KNO that on the first day of their journey, a total of two flights left from Srinagar International Airport to Saudi Arabia, with each flight carrying 322 pilgrims.

“A total of 7008 pilgrims will be performing Hajj for this year from Jammu and Kashmir. Today, two flights are scheduled and in each flight, there will be 322 pilgrims. We have already published the flight schedule for May 9 and 10 for pilgrims,” he said.

He said that the Hajj pilgrims on their flight schedule day have to reach Bemina Hajj House in Srinagar before five hours to complete the required formalities, adding that 644 pilgrims who left from Srinagar International Airport to Madina Airport in Saudi Arabia for Hajj on the first day, 330 were males and 314 females.

He said that at Hajj House in Bemina, Joint Secretary MOMA in the presence of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, DCs of Srinagar and Budgam flagged off Hajjis and at Srinagar International Airport.

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He also said that for the movement facilitation of pilgrims from Hajj House to Srinagar International Airport, they have made adequate arrangements as they have kept the buses available from Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation (JKRTC).

Relatives and friends were seen accompanying the Hajjis to the Hajj House, where emotional scenes were witnessed as they bid farewell to their near and dear ones with moist eyes.

On the occasion, personnel from police and home guard volunteers were also seen deployed in sufficient numbers to load and unload the baggage carried by the pilgrims.

Earlier, Dr Shujhat Quershi reiterated the committee’s dedication to ensuring a seamless experience for the pilgrims, affirming the exhaustive arrangements to facilitate the holy journey for pilgrims.

He said that a total of 7008 Hajj pilgrims intending holy pilgrimage to Mecca and Madina, around 6800 were going through Srinagar embarkation and over 500 through Delhi embarkation.

He also said that the pilgrims can check their flight status on the website of Hajj Committee of India under the enquiry section by entering their cover number.

Dr Quershi also informed that 37 female pilgrims were also undertaking the sacred journey without a Mahram, with the majority embarking from Srinagar, and that the boarding passes to customs clearance, meticulous coordination will be in place to ensure a hassle-free experience for the pilgrims and their families.

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He said that the Hajj House will serve as a focal point for all formalities, streamlining the process for the pilgrims’ convenience.

Dr Quershi said that collaborative efforts across various departments, including health, security, and emergency services, will be in place and that the training sessions have also been conducted twice to equip pilgrims with essential information and guidance for their pilgrimage.

He revealed that this year’s pilgrimage will commence with a visit to Madina, with all pilgrims accommodated in Markaziya. He said enhancements have been made in Minha, with tents now strategically positioned in zones 2, 3, and 4, elevating the overall experience for the pilgrims.

Notably, in a recent review meeting, chaired by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, he stressed upon the officers to ensure a smooth and efficient pilgrimage experience.

Directives were issued to concerned authorities to deploy adequate staff, install necessary machinery, and provide transportation services, aimed at facilitating the pilgrims’ journey with utmost care and convenience.

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