By A Staff Writer
New Delhi: Minister for External Affairs Mr. Salman Khurshid has indicated that the Government was considering entrusting Hajj arrangements to the Ministry of Minority Affairs. He said this while speaking at a seminar on “Hajj Today’ organized by Tauheed Educational Trust here on February 8.
Mr. Khurshid while referring to suggestions to create a Hajj Authority, said the Government was committed to provide best of arrangements and comfort to the Hajj pilgrims and has constituted a four-minister group to oversee the arrangements. He said the Government would think of operating flights from more airports within the country, if needed. He said the Government has not made up its mind on reducing the Hajj quota by 20 per cent. He rejected the allegations about subsidy to Hajj pilgrims and said the Government would opt for floating tenders for operation of Hajj flights which is all likely to bring down the fares and travel expenses.
Parvaiz Mian, Chairman, Delhi Hajj Committee, urged that instead of reducing the number of pilgrims, should think of raising the number of pilgrims as the current numbers were in accordance with the 2001 Census.
Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, Head, Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, urged that the Hajj portfolio should remain part of the External Affairs Ministry as shifting it elsewhere would create problems and its centrality would be jeopardized. Mr. Wasey urged the Government of Saudi Arabia not to allow construction of luxury hotels in the vicinity of two Harams in Makkah and Madinah and to shift the existing ones outside a radius of three to four kilometers. He criticized the suggestions from some quarter to bring the Hajj arrangements under a multinational authority of Muslim countries.
Maulana Sayeedur Rahman Azmi, Rector of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow urged the pilgrims not to indulge in non-mandatory rituals during Hajj which created problems for other pilgrims.
Maulana Mutiur Rahman Madani of Tauheed Educational Trust informed the delegates that the Saudi Hajj Authority would erect a roof over nearly three square kilometers area over the Harem by 2020 which would save the pilgrims from rain and torrid summer sunshine. A delegate suggested that the pilgrims be given a cellphone fed with all important helpline numbers in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah. A Hajj Exhibition too was organized alongside the seminar.