Friday, 7 December 2007

Haj: Do's and don'ts for pilgrims


December 7, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 16: With instances of theft on the rise in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Madina during the Haj, the Indian Consulate in Jeddah has warned Indian pilgrims to be cautious while performing the Haj.
In its "do's and don'ts", the Indian Consulate has pointed out that Indian pilgrims should keep a close watch on their belongings in view of spurt in theft cases in the holy cities.
"A number of pilgrims have been cheated by confidence tricksters who gain their confidence and then take money from them on the pretext of buying things at cheaper rates. People have been tricked into even parting with money for the sacrifice that is supposed to be done after Haj at Mina on the 10th of Zul Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Theft from pilgrims is on the increase hence all precautions should be taken," the Consulate pointed out.
There are several "Maktabs", which can also take care of cash and valuables but pilgrims must insist on a proper receipt if they are leaving money with a Maktab. They should not give any cash or valuables to anyone else than to a proper person in the Maktab who should give a proper receipt (Fatura) for the same.
The Indian Haj Mission has set up a special cell to provide full range of Consular services including issue of emergency certificate if the passport is lost, issue of duplicate Air ticket if the ticket is lost. However, it is important that some kind identification is always retained with the pilgrim like the steel bracelet provided in India before boarding, the consulate pointed out.

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