The State Secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League, J. Mohammed Rafi, has urged the Union Government to drop its proposed move to reduce the number of Haj pilgrims by 10 per cent every year in a bid to bring down the expenditure incurred in this regard.

In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Mr. Rafi referred to the recent statement of Union Minister of State for External Affairs Sashi Tharoor, wherein he had reportedly stated that the expenditure on account of Haj pilgrimage had gone up manifold. Hence, the government was contemplating bringing down the number of Haj pilgrims by 10 per cent every year.

This had resulted in heartburn for the Muslims living in the country. Mr. Rafi pointed out that the statement was aimed at pre-empting any possible request for increasing the subsidy given to Haj pilgrims.

A meagre assistance was given for Haj pilgrimage and this was the only major help that the government was extending to the minority community. There was a need for increasing the assistance, he added.

Mr. Rafi sought an additional allocation of quota for Haj pilgrimage from Tamil Nadu compared to other States. He also sought supply of application forms for pilgrims in the respective regional languages.

Mr. Rafi sought introduction of a direct flight service from Coimbatore and pleaded for opening an office of the Haj pilgrimage sub-committee.

Keywords: Religious group

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