NEW DELHI: On Prime Minister Narendra Modi's suggestion, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today assured those women who have applied to go for Haj without 'Mehram' that they will be exempted from the lottery system and would be allowed to proceed for the annual pilgrimage.
Around 1,300 women have applied to undertake the journey next year to Saudi Arabia without 'Mehram', Minority Affairs Minister Naqvi said.
The Centre has for the first time decided to allow women pilgrims over the age of 45 to undertake the pilgrimage in groups of at least four sans 'Mehram', a decision hailed by the minister as "historic".
The term Mehram refers to a male, a woman cannot marry in her life (i.e. father, brother or son etc). Till now, women pilgrims would be required to be accompanied by their husbands or 'Mehrams' during the annual pilgrimage.
Haj pilgrims are shortlisted every year through the computerised lottery system.
"After PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji's suggestion, I assure that those about 1,300 women, who have applied to go for Haj without 'Mehram', will be exempted from the lottery system and allowed to proceed on Haj," Naqvi tweeted.
He also thanked Modi for mentioning the ministry's decision to lift the ban on women going for Haj without 'Mehram' on his radio programme.