VELLORE: Haj Pilgrims spend their own money for the pilgrimage and don’t get subsidies and concessions, said Indian Union Muslim League State President and former MP, K M Kader Mohideen.
He was addressing the media, after attending a marriage ceremony in Ambur on Sunday, in the backdrop of the Supreme Court recently asking the government to gradually reduce the subsidies to Haj Pilgrims.
Mohideen said the government had been giving ‘compensatory concession’ to pilgrims, just to compensate the high ticket fare. This could not be called ‘subsidy’.
He said around 1,75,000 pilgrims had gone to Haj last year out of which 10,000 were government employees, who had gone along with the other pilgrims to take care of them. About 40,000 more went through private Haj operators by paying a higher sum of money. The remaining 1,25,000 pilgrims availaed themselves of the government’s Haj Committee arrangements for whom the Supreme Court had ordered phasing out of ‘subsidy’.
Mohideen said, “The ‘subsidy’ as termed by the Supreme Court includes the remaining amount out of the whole ticket fare apart from the ‘compensatory concession’, the vaccines given to the pilgrims, expenses on some of the government authorities who join the pilgrims to take care of them.” He said it was just a facility given by the government to its citizens and could not be considered a ‘subsidy’ or a help to a particular religious group.
The Supreme Court had also specified the number of goodwill delegates who would represent the country and would cater to the needs of the pilgrims during the journey. Last year, 22 persons had accompanied the pilgrims as goodwill delegates but the Supreme Court had asked the committee to reduce the number to four. “Our next step would be based on the government’s action with regard to this,” Mohideen said.
About the provision for minorities to study in their mother-tongue, he said, “The previous regime had clearly chalked out a clear scheme in this regard. However, there is no announcement from the present government in allowing the children of the minority communities to study in their own mother tongue. This has left many confused,” he added.
Regarding presidential elections, he said, “After convening a national committee meeting of the party, it will be clear as to which political party IUML will be supporting.” Mohideen said the Party’s National Youth Wing representatives’ conference would be held in Chennai on July 14 and 15.
He urged the Muslim population to co-operate for the caste census and particularly mention their caste during the process.
The party’s state secretaries Tiruppur Sathar, H Abdul Basheeth, district president Nisar Ahmed and Ambur town president K Iqbal Ahmed were also present on the occasion.