Arif Jokatte

Jeddah, Nov 2: “India Fraternity Forum will be engaging around 1,000 volunteers for the service of pilgrims in Muna. A dozen of women volunteers will be deployed in Muna as an experimental effort under the women’s wing of the forum and their service will be available in Muna only. This would be a specialty of the Hajj service of the Forum” the office bearers of IFF said at a press conference held in connection with completing all necessary preparation related to this year’s Hajj volunteer service.

India Fraternity Forum started their Haj volunteer service eight years ago with a limited number of approx. 50 volunteers in Muna which increased every year that reached 1,000 volunteers last year. Forum volunteers are from 11 different Indian states and from four provincial regions of Saudi Arabia. Ashraf Morayur, the Hajj Coordinator of the Forum said that they had to close the registration before three weeks to limit the number volunteers from other provinces and to put a ceiling on the total number of volunteers at 1,000 due to the inability to arrange adequate accommodation and other facilities for the increased number of volunteers in Muna.

Volunteer service of Fraternity Forum began with the preparation of Hajj Guide in six major Indian languages highlighting the safety and health guide which were distributed among the pilgrims to educate them before they embark on their journey to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. A detailed map of Muna highlighting the major roads, bridges and hospitals and other land marks, is under updating to include the latest developments and will be ready for distribution among the volunteers soon.

This year though the Entry to the Haj Terminal was much restricted for security reasons, Fraternity forum had received entry pass for their volunteers and they have been serving the Hajis since the first flight from India has landed in Jeddah and Madeena. 50 of the Forum volunteers have been engaged in Makkah since then and they are concentrating around 12 branch offices of Indian Mission to help the pilgrims while they are in Haram premises and in Azeeziah. Indian Hajj Mission arranged a First Aid Training programme for the Forum volunteers.

Logistics department under Kabeer Kondotty and Siraj of Tamil Nadu have already started their job to ensure that accommodation, food, uniform for the volunteers are ready and available during the Muna operations.

Volunteer Service in Muna will begin from 7th Dhul Hajja in all the seven (7) areas under Area captains and will last till the last hajj pilgrims is confirmed departed Muna after completing the Haj rituals satisfactorily. Around a dozen of the Forum volunteers are Certified First Aid professionals and their service would be made available in Muna till 13th of Dhul Hajj .

A supervising team is set up to monitor all the operation in Muna and any re-arrangements required in the areas will effected immediately whenever found necessary and useful. This team will also take care of any emergency like rain or flood etc and will re-deploy the volunteers for meeting the same. Dozens of wheel chairs are made available for the service of pilgrims in Muna.

Fully equipped “help disk” is operational in Jeddah to locate the pilgrim round the clock, which is a unique feature of the Forum volunteer Service. The help desk will enable to locate a missing haji even when the pilgrim does not bear any kind of identification with him.

The office bearers emphasized that the aim of the service is nothing but to help and support the haj pilgrims irrespective of their colour and / or language and to obtain the blessing and reward of Allah the almighty. The volunteers are there to help the pilgrims to perform the rituals of haj with ease and comfort, whenever required.

Earlier Abdul Ghani, Forum joint coordinator for Hajj operations, welcomed the media representatives and Ashraf Morayur (Hajj Coordinator) explained the various features of the Volunteer Service of the Forum with answers to the queries from the media representatives. Mohammed Iqbal (Volunteer Captain), Basheer P.K (Public Relations in-charge), Khaja Mohiyuddeen Sheikh (Convenor, Tamil Nadu) Siraj (Logistics, Asst. Coordinator) Mujahid Pasha (Coordinator, North Indian states) Moideen (Convenor, Karnataka state) and EM Abdullah (General Coordinator) participated.