Kerala

‘End fleecing of pilgrims by airlines’

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Says govt should call global tenders to operate Haj flights

Kerala State Haj Committee chairman Thodiyoor Muhammed Kunju Moulavi has said that the Muslim community generally has no objection to the decision to scrap Haj subsidy.

“But it should be noted that the subsidy was a concession offered for the air ticket. This was introduced from the days of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, upholding the spirit of secularism. As such, the subsidy is offered to pilgrimages of all religions,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The Moulavi said that air fare last year was ₹76,000 and the subsidy given was ₹10,750. “Certainly, this year, the fare would go up beyond ₹77,000. This was when private tour operators charge anywhere between ₹30,000 and ₹35,000,” he added.

Special Correspondent writes from Kozhikode:

Muslim community leaders appeared reconciled to the announcement of the subsidy withdrawal, but called for an immediate end to the ‘fleecing’ by airlines.

“I welcome the decision because such subsidies should have no place in a secular polity,” Muslim Education Society president Fazal Ghafoor told The Hindu. “But, this should be applicable to government aid for all pilgrimages, rituals, and celebrations of all religions, and not just Haj alone.”

Sheikh Mohammed Karakkunnu, assistant Ameer of Jamaate-e-Islami Hind, said the decision appeared to be discriminatory. The Kerala Muslim Jamaath, headed by Kanthapuram A.P. Abubacker Musliyar, condemned the decision.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 6:02:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/end-fleecing-of-pilgrims-by-airlines/article22452001.ece

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