MALAPPURAM: Sixty-year-old Vellekkattil Pathutty from Othukkungal near Kottakkal is excited as she is set to make a long journey without her husband or children.Pathutty is one among the first ever women’s group that will go for Haj without Mahram (male guardian).Owing to the recent reforms brought in the revised Haj policy, she will be able to travel without male escort.
“My journeys end at Kottakkal, Malappuram and Manjeri, where I go for purchase or to avail of treatment. However, when it comes to Haj, I am not scared at all as I have my relatives with me,” she said.
If things go as planned, she, along with her relatives Pathumma, 53, Nafeesa, 53 and Amina, 66, will leave for Mecca this year to perform Haj. For the first time, the Haj Committee of India has allowed women to travel without Mahram. The relaxation was brought after Saudi Arabia changed the rule preventing women from undertaking pilgrimage without close male or husband in 2014.
The Kerala State Haj Committee has received 1,124 applications from women, who want to go to Mecca without male escort. In a recent speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the Haj Committee of India received applications from1,300 women who wanted to go on pilgrimage alone.
Haj Committee chairman Thodiyur Muhammed Kunji Moulavi said all women will be allowed seat from central pool while Kochi will be their embarkation point.“All matters including trip and accommodation in Saudi Arabia will be arranged by the State Haj Committee. Our volunteers will take care of them,” Muhammed Kunji Moulavi said.