SIM cards to hajis to be issued in Saudi Arabia

Hyderabad: The blast in Medina, the second holiest site of the Muslim world, has prompted the Saudi Arabian government to tighten rules including the issuing of SIM cards to pilgrims. This year, those who have been selected to perform the pilgrimage will be issued cards in Jeddah instead o f Hyderabad.

Sources from the Telangana State Haj Committee (TSHC) said that this is one of the few changes with regards to haj arrangements that have been made this year as compared to previous years.

“Due to the recent event, this change has been made. The SIM cards will be given in Saudi Arabia and fingerprints of those who are taking these cards will be taken. This is for pilgrims across the world and not just India. The decision was taken a week ago,” said TSHC special officer Prof S A Shukoor.

Among other changes are the Haj Committee of India’s decision to do away with providing pilgrims with suitcases. The move comes after seHajveral pilgrims had raised questions about the quality of these bags. “Last year we had decided to provide the bags at a cost of Rs 5,100 to the pilgrims. We received some complaints after which we decided to discontinue the service,” a TSHC source said.

This year, the Haj Committee of India has decided to allow 55 kilograms of luggage. This includes two check-in luggage of 22.5 kilograms capacity each and an additional hand luggage of 10 kilograms.

Only 35,000 pilrgims will be allowed to use the train to travel from Mina to Muzdalifah this year. This decision, Prof Shukoor said, has been taken by the Saudi government to reduce the risk of stampedes.

In order to provide better assistance to pilgrims, the Haj Committee of India has decided to appoint one khadim-ul-Hujjaj (haj helper) for every 200 pilgrims instead of one for every 300. Every year the TSHC selects government employees as khadim-ul-hujjaj by means of qurrah or drawing of lots.

Courtesy: Times Of India