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These ‘beggars’ pay crores of rupees then Haj committees run, Air India survives

Monday April 16, 2018 7:48 AM, Aleem Faizee,

Hajj 2018 News

Mumbai: Abdullah (name changed) was walking on the streets of Makkah in Saudi Arabia when suddenly a local Arab came and asked for handshake. The local Arab while holding Abdullah’s right hand pushed something which Abdullah soon found was three 500 Saudi Riyal currency notes. Abdullah rushed to him and asked what’s it?

“It’s for you. Keep it. It’s Sadaqah. Charity”, he replied.

“But, I am not eligible to take Sadaqah or Zakah. I can’t keep it”, Abdullah said, and forced the bucks back to the local Arab leaving him visibly dismayed, upset and amazed.

It’s a common experience of pilgrims who are in Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia for Haj. It means you don’t need to be a beggar or differently-abled if you want to get some “free ad extra currency notes” while in the two holy cities.

Still, the Narendra Modi government believes that the differently-abled pilgrims resort to begging and this is why it has imposed a ban on them. It is a common knowledge that when differently-abled persons travels anywhere or embark on Haj, they are accompanied by someone to take care of them. It means not only the differently-abled persons but those accompanying them are also beggars.

Contrary to what the Modi government wants to make the country believe, a person with little knowledge about Haj is aware that the annual ritual to commemorate the sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim, his noble wife Hager and their son Prophet Ismael (peace be upon them all) being one of the five tenants of Islam requires monetary and physical sacrifices. Hence a Muslim family plans Haj well in advance, some even meticulously saving every single rupee needed for the purpose for years. And when the time comes to spend this money they do it happily and without slightest hesitation. This is why most of the time they are exploited at every stage during their Haj journey. Sadly, the Indian government too has never been a facilitator but always remained on the wrong side.

A pilgrim’s endeavor for Haj begins with Haj Application Form (HAF). The Haj Committee of India issues the Haj Application Forms and every year it receives applications more than three times its actual quota. As per its own record, the Haj Committee of India received a total of 355,604 applications against its quota of 123,400 in 2018. The Haj Committee of India charged Rs.300/- per application in the name of processing fees and thus received a whopping Rs.106, 681,200. In addition to this, the Haj Committee of India also charges a sum of Rs.1000/- from 123,400 pilgrims finalised after the draw or qurrah. This is a sum of Rs.123, 400,000 and its total collection from the pilgrims in 2018 is Rs.230, 081,200 (Twenty three crores eighty-one thousand two hundred rupees).

According to the Haj Committee of India’s own admission, it is this amount which is used to manage its central office as well as the expenses of State and Union Territory Haj Committees. The Haj Committee of India says 2/3rd of the total amount collected on account of processing fees is given to State/UT Haj Committees. They use this money for managing their offices including staff salary, data entry and other expenses. The remaining amount is used by the Central Haj Committee of India to print Haj Application Form, guide, passport cover, building expenses and staff salary.

The Haj Committee of India records show that the additional Rs.1000/- collected from each confirmed pilgrims is utilized this way. Out of Rs.1000/- collected from each pilgrim, Rs.600/- per pilgrim is given to State/UT Haj Committees. This includes Rs.200/- per pilgrim for the facilitation centers at different airports, Rs.150/- as handling charge, Rs.100/- for the compulsory Haj training and Rs.150/- for construction of Haj Houses in various states. The remaining Rs.400/- is used by the Central Haj Committee of India to manage other expenses to run its office the entire year.

How Air India – the national carrier, survived for so many years on the money extracted from the Haj pilgrims is no more a secret. It is debated with ample proof and also submitted in the Supreme Court that the Air India is continuously charging the pilgrims 3-4 times more than the normal airfare.

Contrary to these facts, the BJP and RSS have always portrayed as if the Indian government is spending lot of money for the Haj pilgrims. Now in power they have crossed all limits of lying by calling the pilgrims beggars. Though utterly bizarre and far from truth, this is nothing but the extension of the BJP and RSS policy of Muslim bashing, demonization and intimidation to satisfy their hate, fulfill their sectarian and divisive agenda and polarize the Indian population.

Footnote: A recent study by the Saudi Haj Ministry has revealed that many of the elderly and differently-abled embark on Haj just in the hope that they could die on the sacred land. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, are you reading? They are there to die, not to beg.

{The writer Aleem Faizee is founder editor of He can be contacted at]

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