SRINAGAR: At least 10,000 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have registered for the Hajj in the ensuing year scheduled to begin from May month while the registration process last date is on 15th of February this month.
Given the 1st and 2nd wave of the deadly COVID-19 infection across the globe, India and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the last two consecutive years barred overseas Hajj pilgrims.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had welcomed the decision of the Saudi government saying that all arrangements for the Hajj were made while they waited for their decision and the central government welcomed the call amid a rise in COVID cases.
After the nod from Saudi Arabia regarding the Hajj 2022 in the ensuing year with a decline in infection cases across the globe, the process for registration started in both Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir Union Territories back in November last year.
Hajj Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Abdul Salam Mir said that the registration process for both J&K and Ladakh started back in November last year and around 10,000 individuals have registered themselves so far while the final date for same is scheduled on February 15 this month.
He said that so far no pooling of the number of the pilgrims who will leave for Hajj has been shortlisted and it will be done after 15th February in the ensuing month.
The Hajj officer informed that separate guidelines for Hajj this year will be issued once the Saudi government releases them given the Omicron variant infection threat.
“Around 10,000 pilgrims have registered themselves for Hajj this year, of which nearly 250 belong to the union territory of Ladakh,” he said, adding that in the last two consecutive years Hajj was not allowed.
The Hajj officer said that all the pilgrims mandatorily must be vaccinated and before leaving for Hajj here they will undergo COVID-19 testing.
“Two vaccines of India including Covisheild and Covaxin as approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are the acceptable vaccines for Hajj this year,” the Hajj officer said. “We don’t accept the registration forms of pilgrims who are not vaccinated. It’s mandatory and a priority in the ongoing situation.”
He said that during Hajj the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP’s) issued by the Saudi Arabia government will be exercised and as of now the native SOP’s are in place including the online registration process given the Omicron variant.
He also informed that in the year 2019, around 17,000 pilgrims had registered for Hajj.
Compared to the figures in the ensuing year the number of pilgrims has come down given the infection scare across the globe and Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Both J&K and Ladakh recent have reported a huge spike in daily infection cases in the ongoing 3rd wave of pandemic—(KNO)