Srinagar, Feb 27: More than 300 Kashmiri Umrah pilgrims are likely to return from Saudi Arabia after undergoing medical examination in the kingdom.
This follows Riyadh’s decision to suspend Umrah pilgrimage as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Coronavirus infection in the kingdom.
Every year thousands of Kashmiris visit Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. However, Riyadh’s decision to suspend pilgrimage has badly hit the Kashmir’s Umrah service providers.
“Kashmiris prefer to perform Umrah pilgrimage till April end. Since Saudi Arabia imposed a ban on Umrah temporarily, the booking will take a hit. We will have to resume Umrah services after Ramadan now,” said Nisar Wani, Managing Director, Behreen Travels, a prominent Hajj and Umrah service provider.
Wani said at least 300 Kashmiri pilgrims are currently in Saudi Arabia., “They will return to the valley after undergoing a medical examination. All arrangements have been done in this regard,” he said.
Managing Director, Alkhudam Hajj and Umrah Services, Sheikh Feroz Ahmad said two flights have been canceled from New Delhi on Thursday after the Saudi government’s advisory.
“All the tickets for the pilgrimage have been sold out for the next two to three weeks. I think the airlines won’t refund us money, which is a cause of worry. Temporarily, there will be some losses but we are hopeful to recover from them,” he said.
Suspension of Umrah services had triggered the panic among the people who were scheduled to leave for pilgrimage next week.
“We have paid our money for Umrah pilgrimage in advance. We are very much worried,” said Mudasir Ahmad, a local from Baramulla.