A total of 5,162 women would be going for Haj without ‘mehram’ this year, the largest since the reform was introduced in 2018 which did away with the compulsion of a male companion with women on the pilgrimage.

For Haj 2024, applications have been received from 6,370 women who are above 70 years of age, besides 5,162 women who want to go on the pilgrimage without ‘mehram’ (male companion), the Haj Committee of India said.

The process of draw of lots for the Haj applicants was carried out on Monday by the Haj Committee under the guidance and supervision of the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

However, applications of all women above 70 and those who want to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mehram’ were accepted and not put through the process of drawing lots.

A total of 1,74,117 applications were received for Haj by the Haj Committee.

The total quota of 1,75,025 pilgrims from India has been finalised for Haj 2024 with 1,40,020 seats being reserved for pilgrims to proceed through the Haj Committee whereas 35,005 pilgrims would be permitted to proceed through private operators.

Chief Executive Officer of the Haj Committee of India, Liaquat Ali Afaqi, said that out of the 5,162 women who will go on Haj without ‘mehram’, 3,584 are from Kerala, 378 from Tamil Nadu, 249 from Karnataka, 166 from Maharashtra, 141 from Uttar Pradesh, 130 from Telangana, 82 from Jammu and Kashmir, 72 from Madhya Pradesh, 64 from Gujarat, 50 from Delhi, 44 from Andhra Pradesh, 40 from West Bengal, 33 from Rajasthan, 30 from Bihar, 29 from Assam, 19 from Puducherry, 14 from Chhattisgarh, 10 from Uttarakhand, nine from Jharkhand, five each from Goa and Odisha, three from Ladakh, two from Lakshadweep, and one each from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

The Haj policy provides for the draw of lots to finalise the list of applicants to be selected as pilgrims to go on the pilgrimage through the Haj Committee.

The randomisation process started at 11 am and was successfully completed by 03 pm, and was witnessed by the representatives of various State/UT Haj Committees on a real-time basis, a statement said.

Messages are being sent to the selected and wait-listed pilgrims.

In the previous years, it used to take more than a day to complete the whole process and the new initiative of the government shall greatly facilitate the Haj pilgrims all over the country, the statement said.

In line with the digital initiatives of the government and for ensuring transparency and removing human intervention, the Haj portal has been revamped with latest IT infrastructure and services.–(PTI)