Hajj aspirants see no takers

Updated on Nov 22, 2006 05:00 PM IST

There seems no concrete measure to accommodate the 6,000 dropped Hajj aspirants, writes Tejinder Singh Sodhi.

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HT Image
None | ByTejinder Singh Sodhi, Baramulla

As the state and centre from Jammu and Kashmir from 6,000 to 12,000 but yet there seems no concrete measure to accommodate the 6,000 dropped Hajj aspirants even the first flight for the annual pilgrimage has taken off for Jeddah from here on Wednesday.

This year the state government received around 13,000 applications from the people aspiring to leave for the holy pilgrimage, against the allotted quota of 6,665 for the state, thus 6,000 Hajj aspirants were dropped. The chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the issue of increasing the Hajj quota of the state with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to almost double the allotted quota of the state following the decision of Saudi Arabia government to enhance the Indian quota by 10,000 this year.

After rounds of meeting with the central government, the state government last week announced that the quota of the Hajj pilgrims has been increased and all the 6,000 Hajj aspirants who had been dropped in the earlier list would be accommodated in the second list. This step was seemed as a positive gesture towards the state by the union government and the Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also thanked prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his kindheartedness towards the people of the state, but after more than a week of the decision the road is not clear for the 6,000 dropped Hajj aspirants, who say that the announcement regarding the hike in quota was just a plan to gain political mileage by the state government.

In this regard the dropped out Hajj aspirants are having daily protest demonstration, pressing the state government to fulfill their demands of accommodating them for Hajj this year.

“In order to gain political mileage the government announced the hike in the state quota this year. They played with our religious sentiments by lying to us that all the 6,000 dropped Hajj pilgrims would also be send for Hajj this year." Said Bashir Ahmed tantray a resident of Handwara whose name did not figure in the list of people selected to undertake the pilgrimage this year.

Every year the fate of the Hajj aspirants is decided by the draw of lots conducted by the state Hajj committee. This year 6665 people were selected to undergo the holy pilgrimage, a total of 31 special flights from Srinagar would airlift the pilgrims to Jeddah carrying 215 pilgrims in each flight till December 22. Meanwhile the 6,000 dropped our Hajj aspirants’ blame the state government for not being serious enough to send them for Hajj this year.

"We have received no communication whether we will be send our not, we haven’t been asked to deposit the money and we haven’t made any preparations yet. The season of the pilgrimage has started and yet we are unaware of our fate." Said a dropped out Hajj aspirant.

While speaking to Hindustan Times, the Minister for Hajj and Auqaf, Peerzada Mohammed Syeed while requesting the dropped out Hajj aspirants to be ‘patient’ said, “I advice them to be patients as we are trying to send all those who have been dropped in the previous list. Though unofficial, but this year around 10,500 people from the state would be send for Hajj as compared to the 9,000 of previous year."

When asked to comment whether the state government has received any communication from Central Hajj committee in this regard he said, “Though we haven’t yet received any formal communication in the proposed increase of the Hajj quota of the state, but I am hopeful that the same would be received in a day or two."

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