The first batch of Haj pilgrims was flagged off by Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who said the preparations for ensuring a smooth pilgrimage have been completed.
The first batch of 410 Haj pilgrims from Delhi left for Madina from the Indira Gandhi International Airport this morning.
A total of 1,28,702 pilgrims will be facilitated by the government across India through the Haj Committee this year.
Over 1,200 Haj pilgrims are leaving Delhi for Saudi Arabia in three flights today.
Besides Delhi, 450 pilgrims from Gaya, 269 from Guwahati, 900 from Lucknow and 1,020 pilgrims from Srinagar are also leaving for Saudi Arabia today for Haj.
Naqvi said that the Ministry of Minority Affairs, in cooperation with the Saudi Arabia Haj Consulate, Haj Committee of India and other concerned agencies, had completed preparations for Haj 2018 well before time to ensure a smooth pilgrimage.
Noting that Haj 2018 is being organised according to the new Haj Policy, the minister said it had made the entire Haj process transparent and ensured better facilities for the pilgrims.
Naqvi said that it was the first time after Independence, that 1,75,025 Muslims from India were going for Haj this year.
He said more than 47 per cent females are going for Haj this year and for the first time 1,308 Muslim women, travelling without ‘Mehram’ or male companion, were among them.