SRINAGAR: Not only are Kashmiris facing a communication blockade at home, Kashmiris on Haj to Mecca are also not able to get SIM cards as the Saudi maulims, caretakers, are not providing them the requisite help to obtain SIM cards under new regulations put in place by authorities.
This year the Saudi government has decreed that those who have been selected to perform the pilgrimage would be provided SIM cards in Saudi Arabia.
After the blast in Medina, the second holiest site of the Muslim world, the Saudi government has tightened rules, including the issuing of SIM cards to pilgrims.
SIM cards would be given only after fingerprints are taken and passports produced. The passports are kept with the maulims assigned the task of taking care of pilgrims. Kashmiris who are in Saudi Arabia for Haj said that the maulims were not “cooperating”.
“They are not cooperating with us. Without SIMs cards we cannot call home,” said one of the Haj pilgrims, adding that SIM cards availed from private companies were not working.
This year, under the government quota, 6,684 Kashmiri pilgrims will perform Haj.