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Lending a helping hand to Haj pilgrims

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Checking: An aspiring pilgrim going through a Haj form at the Karnataka Khuddamul Hujjaj Association in Bangalore.
Checking: An aspiring pilgrim going through a Haj form at the Karnataka Khuddamul Hujjaj Association in Bangalore.

Afshan Yasmeen

Karnataka Khuddamul Hujjaj Association guides them on procedures

Facilitation centre set up on madrasa premises

College students volunteer during vacations

Bangalore: Abdul Nabi and his wife Shamshadunnissa from Mulbagal, who have been selected for a pilgrimage to Makkah under the State Government’s quota, were a worried lot till recently.

With the May 31 deadline for submission of the Haj forms fast approaching, they did not know how to fill in the forms, get them certified by the appropriate authorities and get the medical clearance.

But one visit to the office of the Karnataka Khuddamul Hujjaj Association (KKHA) in front of Charminar Masjid in Shivajinagar put all their worries to rest.

A team of 35 volunteers, led by social workers Shahmeer Choudhary, Khaliq Sharief and Sait Sab, who formed the KKHA, made things easy for the couple and for others like them.

All they had to do was to sign the forms, get the polio vaccine administered at the nearest Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) health centre and pay the first instalment of the fee at the bank. Hundreds of such pilgrims, who are not aware of the formalities to be completed and the cumbersome paperwork, have benefited from this free service.

The team, comprising student volunteers, have set up a makeshift facilitation centre on the premises of a madrasa in Shivajinagar.

“Most people from rural areas are not aware of the procedures that have to be followed before undertaking the pilgrimage. We guide them on these issues and also fill in the forms. Last year, we had arranged for the medical tests, vaccine administration and fee payment on the association premises. We did not get the required permission this time,” Mr. Choudhary told The Hindu.

Pointing out that he had started this 14 years ago, Mr. Choudhary said that several college students offered their services during the vacations.

One of the volunteers, Waseem Khan, who is pursuing BE in Printing Technology in Chennai, said that it was his pleasure to help the pilgrims. “I have been doing this for the past six years and I enjoy it,” he added.

These volunteers also assist the Karnataka Haj Committee in making arrangements for the pilgrimage every year.

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