Mumbai: Union Minority Affairs Minister Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said here that the culture of harmony and tolerance of majority Hindu community has built and strengthened the foundation of India’s democratic secularism.
Inaugurating the newly renovated hall of Haj House in Mumbai today, Shri Naqvi said that India is the world’s largest secular-democratic country, as while after the partition, Pakistan chose to become an Islamic nation, the majority Hindu community of India chose the path of secularism. Despite different languages, faiths, eating and living styles, India’s culture has kept us united through a strong bond of unity; today, the minorities in India are moving forward on the development path with religious and social freedom, he added.
The Minister said that the strong, inclusive culture, unity and harmony of India has defeated terrorism and other enemies of humanity. Terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and IS have not been successful in their evil designs due to commitment to unity of our society. The Muslim community in India knows very well that terrorism is the biggest enemy of entire humanity and Islam.
Shri Naqvi said that we should remain cautious to ensure that no negative agenda is successful in disturbing the atmosphere of inclusive development and harmony; we have to make secularism and democracy our “positive strength” and not a “negative weakness”.
Shri Naqvi said that for the first time since Independence, a record number of 2 lakh Indian Muslims will go to Haj this year without any subsidy; the honest and transparent system developed by the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has ensured that even after removal of Haj subsidy, there is no unnecessary financial burden on the Haj pilgrims.
Shri Naqvi elaborated that the record number of 2 lakh Indian Muslims will go to Haj this year by more than 500 flights from 21 embarkation points across the country. While 1 lakh 40 thousand Haj pilgrims will go through Haj Committee of India, 60 thousand Haj pilgrims will go through Haj Group Organisers (HGOs). All the HGOs will have to take 10 thousand Haj pilgrims at the rates decided by Haj Committee of India only.
Shri Naqvi said that to ensure transparency and convenience to the Haj pilgrims, a portal of HGOs – http://haj.nic.in/pto/ (Portal For Haj Group Organisers) – has been developed; the portal contains all necessary details, such as HGOs and their packages. A total of 725 HGOs will take Haj pilgrims this year.
Shri Naqvi said that the number of woman Haj pilgrims going without “Mehram” (male companion) this year is double in comparison to last year. 2,340 Muslim women from India will go for Haj without “Mehram” this year while 1180 women had performed Haj last year without “Mehram”. This year too, the Minority Affairs Ministry has made arrangement to send these women on Haj without lottery system. 2 lakh Indian Haj pilgrims include about 48 per cent women.
Flights for Haj 2019 will start from 04th July 2019. On 04th July, flights will start from Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati and Srinagar. Besides, Haj pilgrims will go from Bengaluru (07th July), Calicut (07th July), Cochin (14th July), Goa (13th July), Mangalore (17th July), Mumbai (14th and 21st July), Srinagar (21st July). In the second phase, flights will go from Ahmedabad (20th July), Aurangabad (22nd July), Bhopal (21st July), Chennai (31st July), Hyderabad (26th July), Jaipur (20th July), Kolkata (25th July), Lucknow (20th July), Nagpur (25th July), Ranchi (21st July) and Varanasi (29th July).