Monday, November 09, 2020

Demand to roll back exclusion of Nagpur as Haj embarkation point

Nagpur: Muslim community leaders and clerics have demanded the Central government to reconsider its decisions of cancelling Nagpur International Airport as embarkation point and Rs70,000 hike in deposit fee for Haj 2021.

Former state minority affairs minister Anees Ahmed has written to Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as well as to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on restoring Nagpur’s status as an embarkation point for Haj 2021.

Ahmed said it is a shocking that on the pretext of Covid-19 pandemic, Nagpur citizens would be deprived of the facilities. “This will inconvenience pilgrims not just from Nagpur district and rest of Vidarbha but also areas such as Seoni, Chhindwara and Balaghat, in Madhya Pradesh and Durg, Bhilai, Raipur in Chhattisgarh.”

Ahmed said distancing norms would go for a toss if pilgrims have to travel all the way to Mumbai in trains, buses and private vehicles.

Javed Akhtar, secretary, Jamiat Ulema Hind Nagpur, said this is injustice to Nagpur citizens. “Why only Nagpur, why didn’t they cancel three other embarkation points? Nagpur has always attracted lots of pilgrims from all over Central India.”

Akhtar said due to hike in expenses, deposit amount has gone up. “But I lament that those above 65 years won’t be allowed to go. Also, income tax return certificate shouldn’t be made must for women. They don’t hold accounts. They are not working too. I-T certificate for women must be abolished,” he said.

Haji Mohammad Kalam, secretary of Central Tanzeem Committee which assists pilgrims Haj process, said, “We agree there are challenges before the Saudi and Indian governments. Yet, we have demanded that Nagpur haj flights must not be stopped,” he said.

Hamid Qureshi, secretary of Jamiat Islahul Muslemeen, said reduction in embarkation points is going to increase tremendous problems for Haj pilgrims. “For Central India, Nagpur may please be restored as embarkation point,” he appealed.

09/11/20 Sarfaraz Ahmed/Times of India

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