The Centre has decided to refund the Haj application money after the announcement by Saudi Arabia that “very limited number” of people will be allowed to perform Haj this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have decided that Haj pilgrims from India will not be sent to Saudi Arabia for Haj 2020. Application money of more than 2.3 lakh pilgrims will be returned without cancellation deductions through direct transfer,” Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the media.
Saudi Arabia had said that only people from different countries already residing in the nation would be allowed to perform the Haj, although there was no clarity on the number of people who will be allowed.
“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures ” the ministry in Saudi Arabia that oversees pilgrimages said in a statement on Monday.
The annual pilgrimage usually draws around 2 million Muslims from around the world.