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Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has welcomed Saudi Arabia's decision to cancel Haj this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and said the Indian government supports the move.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Naqvi said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I had already said that we are with the decision of Saudi Arabia. We had done all the arrangements for Haj 2021, we were only waiting for Saudi Arabia's decision and we are with their decision."

Saudi Arabia has taken the decision in the interests of people's safety and health, the Union Minister stated.

Naqvi expressed happiness that Saudi Arabia has allowed women to go on Haj without accompanied by 'Marham' (male partner).

"India has already taken this decision three years ago under the leadership of PM Modi. Many questions were raised then. After getting rid of this malpractice, around 5,000 women had gone on Haj that year," he added.

Earlier today, the Haj Committee of India announced that all the applications for Haj-2021 stands cancelled.

"The Ministry of Haj and Umrah, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia issues a statement informing that due to Corona Pandemic Conditions "The Kingdom of Saudia Arabia has decided to allow citizens and residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only to attend Haj 1442 in limited numbers. International Haj has been cancelled," said a circular by the Haj Committee of India.

"Hence, it has been decided by the Haj Committee of India that all the applications for Haj-2021 stand cancelled," it added.

In 2020 also, the Centre had informed that Muslims from India will not travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj 2020 after the Kingdom conveyed that pilgrims should not be sent in the wake of Covid-19.

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