Women above 45 years may soon be able to go for Haj without being accompanied by a male. For that to happen, however, they must go in groups of four. A committee, formed to look at the Haj policy, is waiting for the Ministry of Minority Affairs to accept its recommendation.

Under the current Haj policy, women who do not have a male escort are not allowed to go on the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

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Recommedations

The committee has recommended: “The conditions of male Mehram accompanying ladies should be insisted only for ladies below 45 years of age. Ladies above 45 years of age, who wish to go for Haj but who do not have a male Mehram and their school of thought permits should be allowed to travel in groups of four or more.”

Under the current Haj policy, women who do not have a male escort are not allowed to go on the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia

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People in the team

The committee is led by retired IAS officer Afzal Amanullah. Besides him, Justice S S Parkar, retired judge of Bombay High Court; retired IRS officer and former Haj Committee chairman Qaiser Shamim; and Kamal Faruqui, chartered accountant and a Muslim scholar are also a part of the team.

Other recommendations

The committee has also made detailed recommendations about the quality and location of accommodation for pilgrims, the volunteers (khadim ul Hujjaj) who guide groups of pilgrims, facilities available to pilgrims on the ground, and on flight. It also dealt at length on the eligibility of private tour operators and monitoring of their quality of service.

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