Recent pilgrims barred from 2013 Hajj

Pilgrims who went for Hajj in the last five years will not be able to go for pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in the coming Hajj season.

Saudi Arabian officials made this announcement, applicable not only for Bangladesh but for the entire world, Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary Kazi Habibul Awal said on Tuesday.

Hajj is the largest religious gathering of Muslims globally.

However, Hajj management staff and companions of Hajis (Mahram) have been kept outside the restrictions.

Aspirants, who made the pilgrimage in last 5 years, would not be able to make it even if they made new passports, he warned.

“The matter will be monitored by the governments of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.”

Defaulters would be detained at the Jeddah airport, said the Secretary. “Saudi government has finger prints and photos of those going for pilgrimage in the last five years. Defaulters will be sent back from the airport.”

“Bangladesh and Saudi governments will take stern action against the Hajj agencies keeping Hajis in unauthorised houses there,” Awal warned.

Strict measures would be taken to stop human trafficking in the name of Hajj. “Last year 5,000 passports were seized. This year measures will be no different.”

The Secretary said aspirants must deposit fees within May 30 – the last date for fee submission.

Seventy Hajj agencies were under scanner for irregularities last time, he informed.

The Cabinet cleared ‘Hajj Package, 2013’ on March 11. There are two packages this time. This season, 127,198 from Bangladeshis can go for Hajj – 10,000 under government management and 117,198 under private management.

Excluding Kurbani, the first package will cost Tk 347,027 and the second package Tk 278,742. Pilgrims will have to carry at least 450 Saudi riyals individually for Kurbani.

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