States

Haj House poses a ‘risk’: Hindu outfits

Pune: Hindu outfits on Friday staged a protest opposing the Haj House project, which is set to come up in Kondhwa, claiming it poses a ‘security risk’.

The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh, and the Patit Pawan Sanghatana have already urged the Pune civic body not to go ahead with the construction.

Milind Ekbote, who heads Samasta Hindu Aghadi, alleged that Kondhwa has been home to terrorist sleeper cells. “The construction of the Haj House, under the cover of relief to pilgrims heading for Haj in Saudi Arabia, constitutes a major security risk. The Haj House in Mumbai has become a haven for terrorists; hence the construction of a similar building in Pune ought to be halted.”

The sanctioning of the project by the erstwhile Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)–controlled Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), was viewed as a move to appease the minority voter base.

In January, a month before the PMC polls, the civic body had allotted ₹ 1 crore towards expediting the project. Former Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who presided over the inauguration, had pledged to grant an additional ₹ 3 crore towards the project. At the time, Mr. Pawar had said that the funds would come from the Assembly and Parliament funds of his party men.

The construction was initially set to take place in Koregaon Park in 2007, but the NCP corporators managed to get the project shifted to Kondhwa, which has a formidable minority population.

The state-of-the-art building is to come up on 10,000 sq.ft., which could house over 1,500 pilgrims. The objective is to help lower-middle class Muslims in western Maharashtra, who face difficulties in finding accommodation at the Haj House in Mumbai.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 1:13:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/haj-house-poses-a-risk-hindu-outfits/article19381597.ece

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