| Lucknow |
Updated: December 27, 2017 7:36 am
Seven groups from Uttar Pradesh, comprising four women each, have applied to go for next year’s Haj without a ‘Mehram’ or a male guardian.
Under a new policy of the Centre, Muslim women aged above 45 years are allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘Mehram’ in a group of at least four.
These seven groups include three each from Lucknow and Kanpur and one from Amethi. Each group will have a leader. In Lucknow, the groups will be led by Kaisar Jahan, Shamin Bano and Afshan Rashid. In Kanpur, Saida Begam, Munni and Akhtar Jahan will lead their groups. The Amethi group will be led by Hasmatul Nisha.
“We got to know about the new scheme. There were three other women members in our family, who wanted to go for Haj, and so we all decided to form a group. Since my mother has already performed Umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca, Hijaz, Saudi Arabia that can be undertaken at any time of the year unlike Haj), she decided to become the leader of the group,” said Mohd Arif, son of Kaisar Jahan.
Arif, a driver, said if the scheme would not have been introduced, one of his brothers would have gone with his mother but that would mean an additional expenditure of at least Rs 1.5 lakh.
“All of us are related and, hence, there should not be a problem. It is good for us because we would not have to wait for a male member to be available to go to Haj,” 65-year-old Kaisar Jahan told The Indian Express. Her 76-year-old sister-in-law Kamarun-nisha is also a part of her group.
This year, the Uttar Pradesh Haj Committee has received around 41,000 applications for the annual pilgrimage.
Earlier, the last date of sending applications was December 7. But, Uttar Pradesh Haj Committee as well as Haj committees of other states, such as Gujarat, had written to the Centre to extend the deadline, following which it was extended till December 22.
“This is now the final figure from Uttar Pradesh as the deadline is over. There are a total of about 41,000 applications for Haj-2018. Seven groups comprising four women each have applied to go without ‘Mehram’,” said R P Singh, Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Haj Committee.
While it is not yet clear whether women who have applied under the new policy will also have to go through the lottery system, family members are keeping their fingers crossed.
“Another reason for applying under the new category was that we are hoping that these women would not have to go under the lottery system as hopefully the number of applications might be lesser than the overall quota set for their category,” said Arif.