The fair of Haj pilgrims flying from the central government's Haj Committee is increasing every year. In one way, the government's Haj fair is almost coming equivalent to the price of private Haj. The private agencies take on the tour with full facilities; such as food, lodging, etc. However, Haj rates of the government are silently getting dearer.
The fair of the Haj pilgrims flying from Mangaluru Airport in 2018' government quota has increased to Rs 2,63,450 and Rs. 2,29,250 for Green and Azeeziya categories respectively. An increase of about 80 to 90 thousand compared to last five years. The government is charging extra money from every pilgrim.
Let's look at the past three years' fairs. In 2016, the central government charged Rs 2,19,450 and Rs 1,85,550 for Green and Azeeziya categories respectively for the Haj pilgrims flying from Mangaluru. In 2017, it was 2,39,150 and 2,05,750. That means, an increase of Rs. 20,000 in merely a year. Again from 2017 to 2018 there is an increase of Rs. 25,000. In all, the central government is systematically looting the Haj pilgrims with a steep increase of Rs. 45,000 from 2016 to 2018.
Let us now know the exact cost of the Haj pilgrimage. The government arranges a staying of 40 days at Mecca and Medina for pilgrims. The government does nothing more than Haj visa, flight tickets, accommodation, vaccinations, and treatment related to primary health problems. The maximum expense for this service comes to Rs.1,20,000 and Rs 95,000 for both the categories respectively if compared to the market price in 2018.
The cost of food and visiting the surrounding areas has to be looked over by the pilgrim itself. Separate charges must be paid to Haj Committee if the pilgrim wants Qurbani arrangement. Rs 25,000 for flight tickets, Mecca hotel room 50,000 (25 days), Madina hotel room 20,000 (15 days) is being charged apart from Rs. 25,000 for other expenses (visa, medical, postage, camp, staff, etc.). In all, it comes to Rs. 1,20,000. This is for the Green category.
Whereas for the Azeezia category, the total cost may come up to Rs. 95,000 as hotel rooms in this category will be given little far in Mecca. This calculation is as per today's market. So how and where the government fair is getting doubled? Who is taking benefit out of this? These are some of the many unanswered questions as of now. The government must stop giving false reasons of Saudi Riyal getting stronger than Indian Rupee every year.
The Haj pilgrims use to get 2,100 Saudi Riyals at the airport until the last year. Haj aspirants of this year may also have the hope to get the same amount of Riyals this year too. But, it has already been announced that there is no government subsidy this year. Central government must let the public know what it is doing with the one lakh extra money it is getting from every Haj pilgrim. As the central government is charging one lakh extra from around 1,25,000 pilgrims, it is even difficult for a calculator to calculate how much amount the central government is looting from Haj pilgrims every year.
Haj is one of the five pillars of the Islam. According to Islam, a Haj pilgrimage must display the spirit of unity, brotherhood, and tolerance. Enimity must be thrown away. Haji must get clean from all impurities. Only the Hajj of a Muslim gets complete. It is maybe because of this a Haj pilgrim completes his Haj by tolerating all the chaos of the government and pays extra money which government wants to loot.
Like a newborn, a haji returns with a pure mind. The government should understand this. As the amendments to the Haj subsidy and other Haj Acts done; in the same way, the central government must stop looting the extra money from Haj pilgrims and must take the responsibility of providing quality service to the extent of the excess amount they are charging. If not, then there will be a curse of exploiting a community.
Rasheed Vittla is a member of D.K district wakf.
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Jaisalmer: Three dalit youths were assaulted after being accused of stealing donkeys in Jaisalmer district, the third such incident to come to light in Rajsthan in recent days.
Five persons have been arrested and three detained after a video of the incident surfaced, police said on Sunday.
The incident occurred on February 15 in Rama village of Fatehgarh tehsil of the district.
The youths were thrashed with sticks and kicked by nearly a dozen people for stealing donkeys. They were later handed over to Sanghar police.
"Five persons have been arrested and three minors have been detained so far. A case has been registered in the matter under sections of SC/ST Act and further investigation in the matter is on," Station House Officer (SHO) of Sangarh police station Ugam Raj Soni said.
Similar incidents had come to light in Nagaur and Barmer
A chilling video of a man being beaten up brutally in Barmer allegedly for committed a theft had gone viral here, prompting the police to arrest a man and detain another on Friday for their alleged roles in the crime.
The video surfaced on Thursday close on the heels of brutal assault on two Dalit youths on similar allegation of theft in Nagaur.
The Barmer incident occurred on January 29.
Police have arrested at least seven persons in connection with the Nagaur case which occurred on February 16.
The Dalit men were beaten up, stripped and tortured by staffers of a motorcycle service agency in Karanu village after accusing them of committing theft.
In the video, a group of men is seen thrashing two persons with rubber belts. They later dipped a piece of cloth wrapped on a screwdriver in petrol and inserted it in the private parts of one of the victims.
The incidents have triggered a political storm in Rajasthan with the BJP attacking the ruling Congress.
Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has alleged that the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government is unable to rein in crime in Rajasthan. Meghwal, who is an MP from Bikaner, had accused the police of manipulating the Nagaur case.