The first batch of 340 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir left for Saudi Arabia today to perform the annual Haj pilgrimage, with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urging them to pray for peace and progress in the state.
Mehbooba accorded a warm send off to the first batch of Haj pilgrims from the state and wished them a safe journey and a smooth Manasik-e-Haj (Haj rituals), an official spokesman said here.
As many as 6,457 Hajis from J-K are scheduled to perform Haj this year, the spokesman said, adding they would be flown to Medina from Srinagar International Airport in 20 flights, with two flights operating each day.
He said the Chief Minister reached Srinagar International Airport this morning from where the first group of 340 Hajis left for the holy city of Medina on a direct Air India flight.
The pilgrims included 238 from Anantnag, 56 from Srinagar, 11 from Baramulla, eight each from Kulgam and Shopian, six from Pulwama, four from Budgam, three from Jammu and two each from Kupwara and Ganderbal districts, the spokesman said.
While interacting with the pilgrims, she urged them to pray for peace and progress in the state as well as safeguarding its people from the tragedies and miseries of violence and bloodshed, the spokesman said.
He said the pilgrims thanked the Chief Minister for making elaborate arrangements at the Haj House and Srinagar Airport.
All arrangements of transportation, boarding and lodging at Srinagar Haj House and distribution of travel documents and issuance of boarding passes at the Srinagar Airport are in place for the pilgrims, he said.