Saudi deports Indian Haj pilgrims alleging `forged` passports

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 22:07

Parbhani: Saudi Arabian immigration authorities have deported two Indian pilgrims, without allowing them to perform Haj, due to overwriting on their passports, which were considered "forged".

Both pilgrims have been blacklisted on the basis of their documents, though the regional passport office at Nagpur verified and confirmed that their passports are valid up to 2017.

Haj Committee of India Chief Executive Officer Ataur Rahman has appealed to the Saudi authorities to remove their names from the blacklist and permit them to perform Haj the next time.

Two pilgrims, Shaikh Shaukat Ali and his mother Sahebunnisa Begum, residents of Selu tehsil had been issued passports by the External Affairs Ministry in 1997, valid for a period of 20 years.

The Haj Committee also did not take any objection to their passports and issued them receipts in March 2013.

Even during verification, the Saudi Arabian embassy never raised any objections with India while issuing visas to pilgrims on August 8, 2013.

Besides, at the embarkation point in Aurangabad, pilgrims` passports were checked and found to be correct by the emigration officer.

The pilgrims were also allowed to board their flight to Jeddah for Haj in 2013.

However, after they reached Jeddah Airport, the two pilgrims were sent back to Mumbai, despite their passports being valid for 20 years, while other pilgrims carried passports valid for 10 years.

A memorandum in this regard has been submitted to the District Collector by a group of people serving Haj pilgrims.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 22:07

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