Chennai: A day after the Union government announced scrapping of Haj subsidy from this year, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy on Wednesday said that his government will demand the Centre to review its decision.
“We came to know that the union government has withdrawn Haj subsidy. We demand the government to review its decision,” Tamil Nadu chief minister said.
On Tuesday, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced the scrapping of Haj subsidy saying that it is a means of financial support that the Centre grants to Indian Haj pilgrims in the form of discounted air fares on Indian Government owned carriers.
Naqvi said that despite the subsidy withdrawal, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage from India this year.
Naqvi also said the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities.
"This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement," Naqvi told reporters and cited a host of measures for the welfare of minorities.
"Muslims didn't benefit from it. Development with dignity is what we believe in. The subsidy will be used for educating girls," Naqvi further said.
Naqvi had earlier said the Centre would abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in accordance with the Supreme Court’s order.
The Centre’s decision was opposed by the Congress with the party criticising the decision as a “hasty and blatant anti-Muslim act” by the NDA government.
“It has been done to please the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is presently touring the country,” Congress leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir said.
Reacting to the cancellation of the Haj subsidy for 2018 Hajis, Shabbir Ali said the announcement had come as a shock for nearly 1.75 lakh Hajis from India whose applications have been processed and are ready for their journey in a few months.
He added that the Haj subsidy was scrapped for the sake of empowering Muslim women indicated that the NDA was not interested in spending on the Muslim minority community and pleading lack of funds.