Minorities welfare minister Azam Khan on Sunday said the Haj Committee of India must ensure that UP’s quota of Haj pilgrims remained unaffected due to Saudi Arab government slashing India’s Haj quota by 20 per cent.
Khan claimed that the Haj Committee of India officials were requesting those Muslim families who have been selected for the pilgrimage to drop one or more members from the group in the wake of Saudi government’s directive. He even threatened that in case the Haj Committee of India didn’t agree, the UP government would have to seriously consider if at all it would like its Muslims to face hardships and problems caused due to such orders. ‘In fact we would then have to take a call on whether to send pilgrims on Haj from UP or not,” he said.
The senior UP minister warned that such moves to ‘cheat’ UP’s Muslims may lead to a major backlash against the Congress. “People may even come out on the streets to oppose such tactics by the Haj Committee of India,” he said.
Khan said the Haj Committee should urge the centre to hold parleys with the Saudi Arab government and ensure withdrawal of its slash order for India. “The quota was a part of bilateral agreement. Just in case if the government feels it isn’t capable enough to get the Saudi government to withdraw its order, then it should ensure that the slash would be by cutting down the number of pilgrims who go on Haj through private tour operators. Such pilgrims are mostly moneyed,” he said.