Community members: Muslims won't be fooled anymore
Community members react to central government's recent move of scrapping subsidy for Haj pilgrimage
Muslims offer prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca during Haj last year. File Pic
Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's announcement yesterday on no subsidy for Haj from this year sparked widespread reactions from the Muslim community. Earlier this year, Naqvi had said that the Centre would abolish the subsidy in accordance with a Supreme Court order, adding, "This was part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement."
MLA and advocate
'All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party had been saying since the year 2006 that Haj subsidy should be scrapped. The subsidy was simply being used to mislead and fool the community members, merely filling the coffers of the airline and not benefitting those actually going on the pilgrimage. But the common folk didn't understand what was happening; they didn't know that the Hajjis weren't the ones benefitting. AIMIM leaders had raised the issue in Parliament and at public meetings. Now, this money should be used for merit-driven education scholarships for Muslim girls'
advocate, Bombay High Court
'I welcome the decision to scrap the Haj subsidy; this should've been done long ago. The ground reality was that it wasn't benefitting those going on the pilgrimage. It was filling the coffers of the airline and some influential people on the Haj committee. We, as a community, were always taunted over it. The more important point though is that from a religious point of view we are not supposed to go for Haj with a subsidy. Now, I hope this money will go towards education and healthcare for the deserving. Also, the utilisation (of the funds) should become transparent, unlike the subsidy, where things were opaque. It is good that we won't be fooled any longer'
vice-president, Gymnastics Federation of India
'This is a bad and sad day. With this decision, the Haj for the poor will remain a dream. It was because of the subsidy that many poor could afford to undertake the pilgrimage. From approximately R2 lakh a person, the subsidy had been brought down to Rs 1 lakh. There are extra funds lying with the community for women's education, but one need not use the (subsidy) money for these educational initiatives. As a Muslim, I used to be proud to say I am from India, perhaps the only country in the world to give a Haj subsidy. It is so disappointing that it has been scrapped'
Did you know: The Haj will be performed this year from August 19-24
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