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Modi govt gives this bizarre reason to ban pilgrims with disabilities from Haj

Thursday April 12, 2018 8:52 AM, & Agencies

Haj for Diasabled

New Delhi: Exposing its anti-Muslim stance yet again, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it had decided not to allow disables for Haj because they may go there and indulge in begging.

The purpose is to strictly screen the disabled due to instances of such people indulging in begging, which is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Minority Affairs said in an affidavit filed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar.

The other reasons for the prohibition was that the pilgrimage is physically demanding, exhausting and in case of a stampede, disabled people would be more at risk, the government affidavit said according to PTI.

Incidentally, Saudi Arabia imposes no such ban for persons with disabilities. In contrast, the Saudi government has enhanced facilities, including especially designed wheelchairs, for the elderly and differently-abled. Modi government's reasoning is not only bizarre but also insulting as a person pays around 290,000 Indian rupees to perform Haj through Haj Committee of India.

The affidavit, which was filed in response to a PIL against the bar on differently-abled people from performing Haj pilgrimage, further said the prohibitions in the earlier policy for the years 2013-2017 were retained in the new one as it was the practice for the last 30 years.

The Modi government had earlier received backlash from disability rights groups after the ministry retained the clause barring differently-abled people from undertaking Haj as well as the offensive language, describing the disabled as “lunatic” and “crippled”, in its revised Haj policy 2018-2022. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi then ordered the offensive lines to be deleted from the ministry’s website, but the ban remained.

Interestingly, the Modi government had in its new Haj policy allowed women without mehrum – male guardian, to perform Haj despite strong opposition from Muslims. The permission received lackluster response as only 1300 such women applied to take advantage of this facility.

Coinciding with Eid al Adha, Haj is the annual ritual to commemorate the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim, his wife Hager and his son Prophet Ismael. The likely date of Wuqoof e Arafat - the key ritual of the Hajj, is August 20 or 19. As the Islamic calendar is based on sighting of moon, the final date will be decided once the new moon of the month of Dhul Hijjah is sighted. Last year, Wuqoof e Arafat was on August 31, 2017.

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