Atiq Khan

Matter will be resolved soon,

he says

Irate kin of Haj pilgrims stage protests

LUCKNOW: Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed has dismissed allegations that the Centre deliberately attempted to deny visas and passports to Haj travellers, now stranded here.

Mr. Ahamed, who was in the city in connection with a meeting of the Indian Muslim League, of which he is the president, told The Hindu that the delay was on account of a system failure in the Saudi Consulate-General in Mumbai.

Sorting out

He said things were being sorted out and the matter would be resolved soon.

The issue had been taken up with the government of Saudi Arabia which, he added, was very cooperative.

Mr. Ahamed encountered unpleasant scenes and slogan shouting by relatives of the Haj travellers and allegedly by some BSP workers at a function at the Amiruddaulah Islamia College here on Sunday evening.

The police had to be called in by the organisers to prevent the situation from turning ugly. The drama at the Islamia College lasted for about 30 minutes.

Assurance

Mr. Ahamed assured the relatives that efforts were being made to enable the devotees to undertake the pilgrimage.