Why in 10 years, Haj subsidy should go now: Mumbai Muslims

May 11, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Mumbai, May 10, 2012: Most of the Muslim leaders have welcomed the decision of Supreme Court to phase out Haj subsidy. This is what the newspaper reports suggest. But the undercurrent is totally different because the common Muslims have the adverse feelings about the Haj subsidy and affairs of Haj Committee.

Saeed Ansari, Software Engineer, feels that the Supreme Court must see economics of the Haj in totality and not only through the prism of subsidy. He quoted a news report claiming that Haj Committee is overcharging or paying more than required. He said, “According to the reports on news portals Haj Committee of India is overcharging nearly Rs.45000 per pilgrim under different heads. For extra facility Rs. 9000, in accommodation Rs.11500, in foreign exchange Rs.2000 and airfare where the subsidy is claimed Rs. 24000 paid more than required in the year 2011.” He demanded that government intervention in the Haj affairs should be minimized.

Reacting over the Supreme Court order, some Mumbai Muslims have demanded withdrawal of the Haj subsidy immediately as it is not benefiting Haj pilgrims, rather the state-run airliner. And that’s why some have demanded global tender for air transportation of Haj pilgrims.

Attar Azmi, one of the petitioners welcomed the decision of Supreme Court but he also demanded to call a global tender for the Air travel of Haj pilgrims. He questioned why the time of 10 years and said, “Subsidy should be stopped at once because effectively no Pilgrims get subsidy.”

He said, “Transparency is the Key. It will not only help the Pilgrims but will also save crores of rupees of our government.” He alleged that the copy of bilateral agreement between Indian and Saudi Government is not provided even under RTI. He is of the opinion that another review petition should be filed.

Mohammed Siraj, president of Movement for Peace and Justice, MPJ on whose behalf and intervening petition was filed in Supreme Court also welcomed the decision but with the strings. “Subsidy is a disputed matter among Muslims but it benefited the Airlines more than the Pilgrims.” He demanded an Independent Haj Committee and a monitoring body

He said that although the Haj Committee of India is an independent body but he believes that it has become a tool of Politicians and become mere executives of Ministry of external affair.
Mohammed Anees, secretary of MPJ who drafted People’s Haj Policy said, “Supreme Court decision is an interim order and it’s basically related to the Private Tour Operators.” He informed that the discussion on the whole Haj Policy will be discussed after the vacation.

Supreme Court dismissed the petitions of Private Tour Operators and our petition will be heard.
He said,” Objective of our petition is to shift the focus and power towards Pilgrims from the Haj Committee of India and Private Tour Operator. To bring transparency and create an Independent Monitoring body like Lokpal for Minority who not only see the matter of Haj but all the welfare Scheme related to Minorities.”

He said his group has suggested the Mechanism internal and external to bring about the change in Haj Policy and a Monitoring body on the line suggested by the Sachar Committee to redress the grievances of Pilgrims.

– tcn

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