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Khurshid's suggestion to bring Hajj affairs under Minority ministry draws flak
Government also criticised for its handling of hajj subsidy, demand calling global for Hajj flights gathers momentum
Sunday February 9, 2014 4:07 PM , & Agencies

Muslim community and political leaders Saturday opposed any move to bring the Hajj Committee of India under the Minority ministry and also criticised the government for its handling of hajj travels and subsidy noting that the entire procedure is actually aimed at helping the government carrier Air India.

Haj India

Speaking at a two day seminar organized by the Tawheed Educational Trust, Kishanganj, Bihar on 'Hajj in Modern Age and Hajj Exhibition', Vice-Chairman of Delhi Urdu Academy Prof Akhterul Wasey opposed the move saying that the central importance of Hajj management will suffer if the Hajj committee is brought under the control of the Minority Ministry.

"Hajj affairs should remain under the Ministry of External Affairs", he said.

Prof Akhterul Wasey was reacting to the statement made by Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid during his address.

Stating that demands are being made to establish a single Hajj Authority for smooth functioning of the Hajj affairs, Khurshid said that the Government is considering to hand over the Hajj Affairs to Ministry of Minority Affairs.

"In view of these demands, the government is actively mulling over of giving the Hajj Committee of India under tutelage of the Minority Ministry", he said.

He further said the government has already constituted a Group of Ministers to look into the issue consisting four ministers. The GoM will give suggestions to the government in this regard shortly, he added.

In his speech, Salman Khurshid also touched upon the Hajj subsidy issue at length saying that many objections were raised against it but they did not hold any water.

However, like the suggestion to bring the hajj affairs under the ministry of minority affairs, the government's handlig of hajj subisdy too came for a sharp criticism.

While describing the subsidy as an advance payment to fill the coffers of the national carrier, JD (U) MP, Manazir Hasan said, "The government is not making any favour to Muslims by offering so-called Hajj subsidy as it is ploy to make up losses incurred by the Air India."

He suggested that by issuing global tenders, Hajj fare would also come down and Hajj pilgrimage would become comfortable. His suggestions were supported by other speakers.

"The government should issue global tenders for hiring private airlines as happened in the past that will reduce the subsidy burden", said Delhi State Hajj Committee chairman Dr Parvez Miyan.

He also pitched for enhancing the Indian Hajj quota arguing that the present quota is based on the 2001 census.

The convener of the seminar and chairman of the Tawheed Educational Trust Maulana Matiur Rehman lauded the contribution of Saudi rulers for development and expansion of the Haram Sharief.

He informed that a shade covering three kilo meter long is being constructed over the Haram that will save Hajis from scorching heat and rain.

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