PM Modi Acknowledges Saudi Arabia’s Policy Change for Muslim Women
In continuation of his outreach to the Muslim community, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, while addressing the 103rd edition of his radio programme, ‘Mann ki Baat’, thanked the Saudi Arabia government for making changes in the Haj policy and said due to this change, over 4,000 Muslim women from India performed Haj without ‘mehram’ (male companion). He said many of them had written to them to express their joy and give their blessings.
Transformative Change in Haj Policy
- PM Modi thanked Saudi Arabia government for allowing women to travel without a male relative for Haj.
- Over 4,000 Muslim women from India went for Haj without a male companion.
Saudi Arabia’s Move to Empower Women
Amid international scrutiny on human rights record and treatment of women, Saudi Arabia in 2019 had said that it would allow women to travel without the permission of a male relative.
Political Impact of Haj Policy
- The central government decided to do away with the discretionary Haj quota available for people in top constitutional posts and the minority affairs ministry.
- Congress has blamed the government for doing away with Haj subsidy, while the centre claims it was being misused.
- Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani recently said the decision to end discretionary quota was made to end VIP culture.
Record Number of Indian Women on Haj Pilgrimage
- 4,314 Indian women went for Haj without ‘Mahram’ this year, the largest since the reform in 2018.
- The Minority Affairs Ministry made comprehensive arrangements for the health of the Haj pilgrims with health desks at airports and medical screening by government doctors.
India’s Participation in Haj Pilgrimage
- Saudi Arabia hosts around 25 lakh to 30 lakh pilgrims from across the globe to visit Mecca.
- India sends the third largest contingent of pilgrims in the world.
- A quota of 1,75,025 Haj pilgrims was allotted to India.
- The annual pilgrimage took place in June-end.
BJP’s Outreach to Muslim Women
Muslim women have been at the centre of the BJP’s outreach towards the community, starting with the centre’s move to criminalize Triple Talaq.
Appointment of Tariq Mansoor and Abdulla Kutty
The PM’s mention of Muslim women came a day after the BJP appointed former VC of Aligarh Muslim University Tariq Mansoor as one of its Vice presidents.
Abdulla Kutty is also a vice president with the BJP and heads the Haj committee.
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