Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday, 23 June, said that India will not send pilgrims to Haj this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Naqvi's statement comes a day after Saudi Arabia announced that only a "very limited number" of people, living within the country, will be allowed to perform Haj.
“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,” Naqvi said.
While Saudi Arabia did not specify a number, it said that only those people from various nationalities, already residing in the country, will be allowed to perform Haj.
Saudi Arabia has never canceled the Haj since the establishment of the country, nearly 90 years ago.
“This decision is taken to ensure Haj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” the ministry that oversees pilgrimages said in a statement on 22 June.