New Delhi: The first batch of Hajis was today given farewell at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.
The Hajis from all northern states have been taking Haj flights from this airport.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid and Delhi Revenue Minister Dr. AK Walia bade farewell to the 300 Hajis.
The Vice Chairman, Haj Committee of India, Hasan Ahmad, Working Chairman, Delhi Haj Committee, Dr. Parvez Mian and Charge de Affairs, Saudi Arabian Embassy, Sagar Al Quraishi were also present on the occasion.
Chairperson of the Haj Committee of India, Mohsina Kidwai, was not present on the occasion as she was abroad in connection with arrangements for Indian Hajis in Saudi Arabia. However, her message was read out a committee official.
Dikshit, Khursheed and Dr. Walia presented gifts from the Delhi Government to the Hajis at the airport.
The Hajis departed in three different flights from the airport.
There were 300 Hajis each from Delhi in the first and third flight, and 300 Hajis from Uttar Pradesh in the second flight.
Speaking on the occasion, Dikshit said every Muslim aspires to perform the Haj at least once in his/her lifetime.
She said the Hajis leaving for Mecca today are fortunate to have their lifelong desire fulfilled.
The Delhi Haj Committee, which falls under jurisdiction of the city government has made all the arrangements for the visit.
Dikshit expressed the hope that the Hajis would pray for the peace, prosperity and progress of the country.
Khurshid praised the Delhi Government for making excellent arrangements for the Hajis.
He described the Haj as an important event in the life time of a Muslim and exhorted all Hajis to pray for peace and prosperity of the country.
Dr. Walia congratulated the Hajis ahead of their visit to Mecca and said that the Government of Delhi has been providing all facilities, including stay and transportation for the Hajis.
He hoped the Hajis would perform their holy journey and concentrate on their worship.
Hasan Ahmad also expressed his views, while Dr. Parvez Mian demanded a hike in the Haj quota for Delhi.