Mumbai authorities say Indian government, not Saudi’s has Haj rule for women
While women older than 45 will no longer be required to go on the Haj pilgrimage accompanied by a mehram — a male guardian with whom marriage is prohibited in Islam — some Muslims demanded that these women also be exempt from travelling in groups.
However, the Haj Committee of India (HCOI) said this criteria is meant to ensure the security of women.
“The Saudi government has not specified that women older than 45 should travel in groups. But, it is part of our country’s provisions to ensure the safety of women,” said Maqsood Ahmed Khan, chief executive officer, HCOI.
Mehboob Ali Kaiser, managing director and chairman, HCOI, told HT that young women were not allowed to travel without a mehram as “women are more mature only after 45”.
On Thursday, members of Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) and Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) proposed that women across all age groups be allowed to travel alone.
This comes in the wake of the proposed Haj policy, which recommended abolishment of the Haj subsidy, reducing the number of places where Indian pilgrims can leave from, from 21 to nine and changes in Haj quota between HCOI and private tour operators.
Some HCOI members will meet government officials on Saturday to discuss changes to the policy. The committee will propose that the reduction of places from where pilgrims leave be deferred, the status quo between HCOI and PTOs be maintained, and reserved category for pilgrims above 70 be continued.