Now, Haj aspirants will get visas for the pilgrimage only when they produce a health certificate and swine flu test report, clearing of them of all infections. This certificate and test report will have to be submitted along with the passport and application for the visa, according to a communication from the Saudi Arabia government to the Haj Committee of India.
“The Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia has sent a letter to Haj Committee of India, stipulating that each Haj pilgrim is required to submit a swine flu test report, health certificate and passport along with the application for visa. Visas will be given only when they submit these documents,” Nazim Baig, secretary, Bareilly Haj Seva Samiti, said on Thursday.
Baig added that the pilgrims applying for visa had to submit these documents latest by May 10. “It also makes tetra vaccine inoculation mandatory for each pilgrim. Children and pregnant women must be vaccinated against seasonal influenza infection,” Baig said.
“The letter further advises pilgrims not to use mobile, towel and handkerchiefs of fellow pilgrims, to use masks at crowded places and not to carry any loose edible items,” Baig said.
The order has become a cause of concern for the Haj applicants as now they will have to undergo test for swine flu. It will cause a lot of inconvenience to the yatris from rural areas as the swine flu testing facility is not available there and they will have to run to cities.
The Bareilly Haj Sewa Samiti has sought intervention of the union government in the matter. Baig said the that union ministry of external affairs should take up the issue to extend relief to the pilgrims
“Uttar Pradesh Haj committee recently received the instructions that submitting medical fitness certificate and the swine flu test report, passport along with their application for visa is mandatory for each Haj Yatri. We oppose it as the test will cause a lot of inconvenience to the applicants, he said.”
The samiti members held a meeting in this regard and said that they would call on UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to seek his support in the matter. They would request the CM to write to the external affairs ministry for intervention in the matter.