Out of 0.38 million Indian Muslims who applied for Hajj this year, only 0.12 million will be given permission to travel owing to the Hajj quota ordered by the government of Saudi Arabia.
According to reports, there has been a 20% reduction in the number of people being allowed to travel from India for the pilgrimage, causing a huge backlog of pilgrims who wish to visit the Holy mosque at least once in their life.
Further, Muslim leaders in the country have demanded an increase in the quota and for India’s ministry of external affairs to take up the matter with the kingdom’s Hajj ministry.
“Thousands of Indian Muslims who fulfill the criteria to go for Hajj are being denied. The external affairs ministry must intervene and communicate this growing concern of Indian Muslims to the Saudi authorities,” said Congress MLA Amin Patel.
The demand came as a latest census shows a rise in Muslim population, 172.2 million or 14.23% of India’s population. Thus, only one out of 1,000 Muslims in India gets a chance to perform Hajj in a particular year.
“Around 0.38 million Indian Muslims applied for Hajj in 2015, however, only 0.12 million are travelling the Hajj Committee to Saudi Arabia in order to perform the rituals in the last week of September,” the Hajj Committee of India said.
Further, Hajj Committee CEO Ataur Rahman stated that the reduction in quota is not just for India, but for all Muslim countries due to the ongoing expansion process of the Holy mosque in Makkah.
“We have told the external affairs ministry to look into the issue. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and performing it is mandatory for Muslims who can afford it,” former minority department minister and MLA Arif Naseem Khan said.
This article originally appeared on The Times of India