Covid-19: After Ramazan Umrah's suspension, doubts hang over Haj 2020

MUMBAI: Already suspended, now doubts also hang over the annual pilgrimage. A large crowd of pilgrims goes to look for Umrah in the holy month of Ramazan (last year there were around 25 lakh). But this year, Ramazan, which ends on May 24, came amid fright and Umrah was suspended even before the closure in India began on March 24.

Now Haj 2020 scheduled for July can also be canceled even when tour operators and India's Haj Committee await notification from Haj.

At least 25 lakh pilgrims used to perform Umrah in Ramazan every year. Of these, five lakhs were from India. About 1,000 would go to Ramazan Umrah through my agency alone, said Yusuf Ahmed Kherada of Al Khalid Tour and Travels, a leading tour operator for Haj and Umrah. He added that Haj 2020 is unlikely to take place due to the disruption the pandemic has created. Hotels and transportation services in Saudi Arabia They are paid in advance. Pre-paid amounts to hotels for the Umrah tours that were canceled are stuck, Kherada said.

(CEO) of India's Haj committee MA Khan said he is keeping his fingers crossed as there is no clear message so far from the Saudi government about whether Haj will be held this year. We had scheduled the first Haj flight for June 20. We are awaiting final notification from the Saudi government on whether Haj will take place this year or not, Khan said. He added that much logistics is needed to lead the mass congregation of pilgrims. India sends two lakh Haj pilgrims.

Pilgrims who had planned to go to Haj this year are also concerned. Both my husband and I are older adults. Our number has not come in the last three years. This year we had planned to go with our son and daughter in law. But now the coronavirus seems to be depriving us of the opportunity this year as well, said a housewife.