Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today flagged off the first batch of 300 Haj pilgrims from Gujarat from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport here.
Around 7,500 people from the state will go on the pilgrimage in separate batches. The Haj Committee has facilitated the travel of 1,00,020 pilgrims to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 21 points, an official release said.
Around 36,000 pilgrims have proceeded through private tour operators, it said.
The Minister of State for Minority Affairs said the holy pilgrimage will spread the message of peace, prosperity and harmony in the country and across the world.
“India is a very large country…the largest number of Haj pilgrims is from India. The pilgrimage is a cherished desire of every Muslim in his life time. We will continue to increase the number of pilgrims in coming years,” Naqvi said.
The Minister said adequate arrangements have been made at all the 21 centres in the country as well as in Saudi Arabia to facilitate the pilgrims.
Gujarat Civil Aviation minister Babubhai Bokhiria, Women and Child Welfare minister Nirmala Wadhwani, Gujarat Haj Committee Chairman Mohammad Ali Kadri were present on the occasion.