The Central BJP government decision to abolish the subsidy given to Hajj pilgrimage is purely communal in nature, said Elyas Muhammad, national general secretary of Social Democratic Party of India. He said, subsidy is not only being given to Hajj pilgrimage but to lots of other Hindu pilgrimages too.
Elyas said that the subsidy being given to Hajj pilgrimage is nothing but an eyewash. While Hajj pilgrims compel to pay an exhorbitant airfare which is actually double overcharge than the normal airfare during out of Hajj season. This excess amount of airfare charged by the airlines were actually compensated by the government in the form subsidy. Hence, the subsidy from the government was not actually beneficial for Hajj pilgrims but yielded major profits only to Air India. Charging excess airfare from the pilgrims and ripping off the excess charges to Air India in the form of subsidy which is a well scripted drama which was both benefitted politically to BJP by so called metaphor ‘minority appeasement’ and ‘helping Muslims’ by Congress.
Elyas reiterated that, the citizens of this country should know the reality of this ‘Subsidy politics’ of the BJP government. In 2012, the subsidy amount was Rs.837 crores which has been decreased every year and in 2016-17 the centre had only allocated Rs.450 crores for Hajj of which major portion of this amount benefitted only Air India. At the same time the centre and state governments have been providing thousands of crores of rupees to Hindu pilgrimage.
The central government spent Rs.1,150 crores on Allahabad Kumbh Mela and Maharashtra governmet spent Rs.2,500 crores for Nashik Kumbh Mela in 2014. The Union culture ministry had allocated Rs.100 crores to Madhya Pradesh government for ‘Simhastha Mahakumbh’ in Ujjain. MP government spent nearly Rs.3,400 crores on the even in 2016 and this is expected to rise to Rs.5,000 crores. The previous UP government started giving a grant of 50,000 to every pilgrims from the state to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, China. Present Yogi government raised this amount to Rs.1 lakh. Yogi government granted Rs.10,000 subsidy to every pilgrims from the state to Sidhu Darshan in Ladakh. The state governments in Chathisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand also provides financial supports to Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims. The central government too spends major amounts on Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, Amarnath Yatra, Ganesh Chathurthi, Chhath Puja.
Elyas reiterated, if Hajj subsidy can be abolished by the central government, why can’t it abolish the subsidies and financial aides to Hindu pilgrimages which runs several thousand crores every year? This will save thousands of crores of Rupees to government exchequer which can be used for the developmental works of poor women and children of this country. Central BJP government is always thinking communally to suppress the voice and dignity of the Muslims in many ways, now in the name of Hajj subsidy. He said, Muslims doesn’t need government’s dramatic subsidy through hiking airfare and ripping off to airlines. Elyas said, the monopoly given to Air India to carry Hajj pilgrims must be abolished by allowing other airliners to provide services which enables cheaper airfare to Hajj pilgrims.