Lucknow: A day after the Centre scrapped Haj subsidy for 2018, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has called for giving liberty to pilgrims to choose any airline of their choice.
The apex Muslim body also said that scrapping of Haj subsidy by the Centre is no big issue.
"We are not rejecting the government's proposal to scrap subsidy for Haj pilgrims, we, along with several other Muslim organisations, will demand that pilgrims be allowed to fly with any airline of their choice. It has been observed that fares of Air India are double that of other carriers. The government must permit Haj pilgrims to choose an airline of their choice," AIMPLB's Zafaryab Jilani told ANI.
The remarks from Jilani came after the Centre scrapped the Haj subsidy for pilgrims and said that the fund will instead be used for the empowerment of minorities from this year.
The announcement was made by Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who said that the Haj subsidy funds will now be used for the education of girls and women of the minority community.
"When we say development with dignity, then we must also say Haj with Dignity. Around 1.75 lakh people will go to Haj this year. We are in support of strengthening the minority. Haj subsidy funds will be used for educational empowerment of girls and women of the minority community," he told the media.
However, there is an exception to the rules for the poor and people over 70 years of age.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs had, in 2017, constituted a committee to review the Haj policy and suggest a framework for a new Haj policy for 2018-22.
"A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, during the Congress regime in 2012, directed that the Haj subsidy be done away with. Hence, in the new policy, as per the recommendations of a committee, we have decided to do away with the Haj subsidy gradually," Naqvi had then said.