Representational Image | Photo: Binoj PP/ Mathrubhumi
Malappuram: Kerala's first women-only Hajj flight took off on Thursday from Calicut International Airport at Karipur after Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla flagged off the flight.
Barla performed the symbolic flag-off ceremony and distribution of boarding passes for the first flight.
This was the first time that only women's flight has been organised for Hajj in Kerala. The pilot and crew of the aircraft are all women.
The Air India Express flight left Karipur at 6.45 p.m. carrying 145 women pilgrims and six women crew marking the first such flight from Kerala for women pilgrims without mehram or a male companion.
Barla said that the women-only flight marked a glorious step for women's empowerment in the country and requested the pilgrims to pray for the country's safety and security as well as progress.
Apart from the 145 women pilgrims travelling in the plane, the pilot who flew this plane and the other crew members of the plane, as well as the dispatch, flight operation, loading, cleaning, engineering, ground service and other related activities at all levels were done by women, making this trip different.
Minister inaugurated the distribution of boarding passes by giving to 76-year-old Sulaikha, the senior most member of the team.
The minister expressed happiness over the arrangements being made for the pilgrims by the State Hajj Committee.
Eleven flights have been scheduled till Monday only for women pilgrims leaving via Karipur airport. 1,595 women pilgrim belonging to the 'ladies without Mehram' category will depart on several days in eleven flights.
The rest will travel on other flights.
2,733 people are leaving this year from the state through the 'ladies without mehram' category. Out of this, 1718 people will depart via Karipur, 563 via Kochi and 452 via Kannur embarkation points.
This year's oldest woman pilgrim, Khadiumma (87), a native of Nediyirup in Malappuram district, will depart on the 4.20 am flight on June 10.
69 men and 76 women took off from Karipur at nine o'clock in the morning on flight IX 3021 on Thursday.
71 men and 74 women travelled from Kannur airport today afternoon.
The second flight from Kochi will leave from will leave at 11.30 tomorrow.
In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy who met the batch of Muslims leaving for Mecca at the Haj House here on Thursday said that the Government has appointed a Hajj Committee which is accompanying the pilgrims to ensure hassle-free journey.
This is the first time that pilgrims are leaving for Hajj from the Vijayawada embarkation point.
"Deputy Chief Minister Amjad Basha, who is accompanying you, will take care of you and will inform me in case of any need," the CM said wishing pilgrims all the best.
very year, millions of Muslims around the world embark on a sacred pilgrimage known as Hajj. This spiritual journey holds immense significance in the lives of believers, offering an opportunity to connect with Allah, seek forgiveness, and strengthen their faith. The heartfelt desire to be among those walking to Mina, echoing the Labaik with the crowd, and performing the rituals of Hajj is a sentiment shared by countless individuals.
Hajj is a unique manifestation of unity, as Muslims from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and nations gather in the sacred land of Makkah to perform the rituals together. It is a remarkable sight to witness people from different walks of life converging towards a common purpose, setting aside their differences and embracing one another as equals before Allah.