On Tuesday. it was announced by India’s Hindu Nationalist government that it would be ending the since years applied policy of giving discounted airfares to the Muslims intending to travel for the Hajj.
The right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party has blamed its opponents in the Congress Party. The members of this party introduced the Hajj assistance scheme back in the 1950s.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi—Minister of Minority Affairs said that the government is willing to help the one hundred and seventy-five million Muslims residing in India without resorting to the political mollification along the religious boundaries.
He said while announcing the decision to dismiss the travel subsidy that the development and advancement should be done with honour and dignity and this is what they truly believe in.
He added that the amount saved from the scheme would be used for providing the economic opportunities and education to Muslims.
More than one lac pilgrims travel from India to Saudi Arab to perform the Holy ritual of Hajj in the city of Makkah. This holy journey is the one journey every Muslim strives for at least once in their entire lifespan.
Critics have been arguing since ages that India being a secular nation must not provide handouts to any religious group or whatsoever for their religion based events or festivals.
In 2012, India’s top court said that the scheme should be phased out as it breaches the basic principle of Islam which is that only the ones who could afford to make the Hajj should do so.
Naqvi said that only this year one lac seventy-five thousand pilgrims would be travelling for performing Hajj from India—which indeed is a huge number.
Indian Muslim leaders have also asked the government to eliminate the travel subsidy, stating that the government-owned Air India was the biggest beneficiary.