Haj subsidy ends: Mixed reactions from community members in Mumbai
While some believe the money saved should be utilised for the socio-economic development of the Muslim community, others said it was an ‘undemocratic’ decisionmumbai Updated: Jan 17, 2018 00:21 IST
After the Central government announced, on Tuesday, that its was cancelling Haj subsidy, the decision evoked mixed reactions from the members of Muslim community in Mumbai.
While some believe that the money saved should be utilised for the socio-economic development of the community, others said it was an ‘undemocratic’ decision.
“The subsidy procedure was a scam that was used to subsidise Air India. The money didn’t really go in the bank accounts of the pilgrims, and they got better facilities at lesser price when they would travel through private operators,” said Feroze Mithiborwala, co-convener, Indian Muslim for Secular Democracy (IMSD).
Mithiborwala said the pilgrims who choose to travel through private operators pay anywhere between Rs80,000 to Rs1 lakh, but those who registered themselves through Haj committee ended up paying Rs1.25 lakh.
Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the subsidy funds will now be used for education of girls and empowering women of the minority community.
However, Hasina Khan, founder, Bebaak Collective, called the process ‘undemocratic’. “Why is it that a particular community is being targeted? If the government is trying to maintain a balance, why isn’t it putting a cap on the money that is used for development of big temples in the country,” said Khan.
Khan added there are specific funds allocated for educational development of each community by the government, and the government needn’t cut down on Haj subsidy funds.
Earlier, in a bid to cut down government spending on Haj, the government maintained 21 embarkation points, but asked pilgrims boarding from 12 of these points to pay an additional amount. This comes in the wake of Supreme Court order of 2012, wherein the Central government was asked to gradually abolish the Haj subsidy by 2022.