KATHMANDU, Feb 5: Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa has reaffirmed that the government was effortful to increase the existing 12,000 Hajj quotas allotted for the Nepali Muslims.
Earlier, a total of 1,200 Nepali Muslims had been leaving for Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage, shared Minister Thapa, adding that the government has aimed to raise the Hajj quota by at least 1,000 more.
Mecca is Islam’s holiest shrine and Hajj, being one of the five duties that is required of all Muslims once in a lifetime, is performed here annually.
This year, Hajj will begin in the evening of August 9 and ends on August 14.
In the first meeting of the new Hajj Committee held at Babar Mahal today, Minister Thapa said, “The government is planning to increase the Hajj quota this year. I have already broached the matter on the same with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nepal. He has also pledged to consider on it.”
Stating that government would lend its support for the Hajj pilgrimage, the Minister urged the new Hajj Committee to come up with concrete plans to further streamline the Hajj journey from Nepal and make the journey more affordable for the pilgrims.
Home Minister Thapa said, “Take into account that the Hajj pilgrimage should be affordable and convenient to the pilgrims and observe precautions to avert accidents during the journey.”
He urged the new Committee to undertake exemplary works and set precedent for the other Committees in future to emulate it.
The Minister acknowledged the Muslim sect to be one of the four highest populations across the globe and hailed Saudi Arabia to be one of the centers of human civilizations.
Stating that Nepal, being a secular country, had accorded respect to all religious faiths, and formed Hajj Committee to organize and preserve Islam religion.
Muslim population in Nepal, as per the latest census in 2011, stands at 11, 64,255 accounting for 4.4 per cent of the total population of the country. RSS