Thiruvananthapuram: Minister of State for
External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Monday wanted those planning to
go for Haj to apply for passports as Saudi Arabia government
had this time made it compulsory that only persons with valid
travel documents would be allowed.
Earlier, Haj pilgrims used to go to Saudi Arabia with a
special pilgrims permit, but this time, passport has been made
compulsory along with a vaccination certificate against viral
fever, Tharoor told reporters after a meeting of passport
officers of southern and western regions here.
Out of the 1.10 lakh persons already selected for
performing Haj by various state haj committees, only 20,000
persons have applied for passports.
Though, the last date for receiving the applications for
`Special Passports for Haj pilgrims` expired on July 31,
Tharoor asked those who have not submitted applications to do
so at the earliest. The special passport is valid for eight
The Saudi government had this time discouraged persons
above the age of 65, children below 12 years and pregnant
women from undertaking Haj pilgrimage, he added.