Haj pilgrims being overcharged, says Cong MP Husain Dalwai

Mumbai: Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Husain Dalwai has sought Centre's intervention for reducing the "financial burden" on Haj pilgrims, who he claimed have to foot additional charges due to unfair "rules of the Haj Committee."

In a letter to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Dalwai said the Haj Committee here is supposed to facilitate the pilgrimage and not "to intervene or interfere in the religious process".

He also raised the issue of "corrupt malpractices" of the Haj Committee in Rajya Sabha, he told reporters.

According to the Congress leader, the Haj Committee has started charging Saudi Riyal 490 for 'Qurbani' and another Saudi Riyal 100 for accommodation in Medina, over and above what it charges ordinarily.

"The new conditions and deductions are unfair and amount to interference in Sharia," he said. According to Dalwai, this year around 1,36,000 pilgrims from India are going for Haj.

"The amount collected from them would be over Rs 113 crore," he said, adding that the Hajis who cannot afford to give Qurbani (animal sacrifice) have to observe three rozas (fasts) in Mecca and seven rozas when they return.

"There are some Hajis who do not need to offer Qurbani or observe rozas. But the Haj committee is forcing every pilgrim to pay the amount," he said, claiming it was against the Sharia rules.

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