General category applicants selected through draw of lots
As many as 1,257 Haj applicants from the State were selected in the general category through a draw of lots held at the State Haj House at Karipur here on Friday.
State Haj Committee Chairman T.M. Bapu Musliar inaugurated the draw of lots.
As many as 6,984 applicants were already selected in two reserved categories — those above 70 years of age and those who had applied unsuccessfully for the past four years consecutively.
Haj Committee officials said the State had a Haj quota of 8,241 seats. The draw of lots was done on Friday for the remaining seats in general category. They said 1,257 were selected through the draw of lots from 36,883 applicants.
The total number of applications for this year’s Haj from Kerala was 43,867. All over India, as many as 2,98,325 applied for the Haj under government scheme. Kerala had the largest number of applicants in the country. After Friday’s draw of lots, as many as 35,626 applicants have been waitlisted. Haj Committee officials said a few more hundreds of them might be selected if the Central government increased the State’s Haj quota.
The allocation of Haj quota for Kerala is on the basis of the Muslim population, and not on the basis of the number of applicants. Unlike Kerala, some other States with fewer applicants have a larger quota as they have a larger Muslim population.
More than four-fifths of the applicants in Kerala will be denied a chance to perform Haj this year, unless the government increases the quota for the State.
Kerala has repeatedly been making the plea to re-allocate the Haj quota on the basis of the number of applications. However, the Central Haj Committee has not agreed to it.
Mr. Bapu Musliar reiterated his demand that the Haj quota for the States be fixed on the basis of the number of applications and not on the basis of the State’s Muslim population.
Last year, Kerala had 49,403 applicants, but only 8,300-odd could go for Haj in the government quota. Kerala had the largest waitlist of nearly 41,000 Haj aspirants last year.
“That was a massive number compared to the waitlist of any other State. Therefore, our demand for Haj quota allocation on the basis of the number of applicants is just and fair,” Mr. Bapu Musliar said.
Mohammedunni Haji, MLA, presided over the function. District Collector M.C. Mohandas and Haj assistant secretary E.C. Mohammed spoke.