Special Haj delegation from India leaves for Saudi ArabiaDecember 14th, 2007 - 8:21 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI): A special goodwill delegation left for the Haj pilgrimage from here today.
The delegation includes Ministers, political leaders, lawmakers and prominent members of the Muslim community.
Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed saw off the delegation led by Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Ahamed said the delegation is visiting on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as ‘unofficial ambassadors’ of India.
“The delegation will be carrying the message of goodwill and fraternity from India and they are going to participate in the greatest and most important international Islamic congregation and international Islamic community. India’s presence will definitely be felt because India is sending the second largest contingent of Hajjis (Haj pilgrims) after Indonesia,” Ahamed added.
Haj is one of the five tenants of Islam and the Holy Quran directs the faithful to undertake it at least once in a lifetime.
Around 152,000 pilgrims from India would be performing Haj pilgrimage this year.
The number of Indian pilgrims visiting the holy place has increased by about 38,000 from 2004 to 2007.
Over two million pilgrims undertake the journey each year from all over the world.
The Haj involves weeklong celebrations and takes place nearly 70 days after the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The total cost of operation for Haj 2007 is estimated to be around Rs. 519 crores (Rs. 5.19 billion).
The five-day long Haj rites will begin from December 17. (ANI)
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