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 The Centre's decision to end Haj subsidy to Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca has been widely welcomed by the Muslims in general in the country as it has always been considered 'un-Islamic.' Several Muslim bodies in the past and several leaders of the minority community had been maintaining that the subsidy should go as "it is basically a subsidy given to Air India and not to the Muslims and that the Holy Koran had expressly stated so without any ambiguity.” This is neither a move of the present government nor is there any political overtone to it. 

The Minority Affairs Ministry had formally opposed subsidy for Haj in 2010 under the UPA-II regime which was only followed up by the Supreme Court in 2012. The Apex Court had ruled that the subsidy was not only unconstitutional but also inconsistent with the teaching of the Holy Koran. In fact, it cited verse 97 in Surah 3, Al-e-Imran which ordains as follows: "In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim; whosoever enters it, he attains security. 

And Haj to the House (Kabah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves, then he is a disbeliever of Allah)..." The Court had directed the Centre to progressively reduce the amount of Haj subsidy and abolish it by 2022. The money should be invested in education and other developmental measures for minority community, it directed the government while asking it to stop the subsidies to Muslims identified by Central government as VIPs and VVIPs and special dignitaries and eminent persons. 

The Government of India had proposed in 2011 that the amount of subsidy per person would be decreased and by 2017, it would be completely ended. The fare of Air India is higher even with the subsidy and other airlines would happily ferry passengers at a much lower fare. Syed Shahabuddin had always maintained that the subsidy should be phased out. Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Mosque, reacted then that a decade (for phasing out) was far too long and that "it should be done away within a year.” 

Asaduddin Owaisi had termed the subsidy as a subsidy for Air India in the past. Several other Muslim leaders had argued that the subsidy was 'un-Islamic." Why then people like Mohd Ali Shabbir criticise the move? He was at his hilarious best when he described the move as a "move to please visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu." 

Coming to Owaisi, he tried to look linear rather linking everything from TTD to Chardham Yatra to Kumbh Mela to the Haj issue to question the money spent on those for even development of pilgrim facilities in those places while reiterating that he himself had been against the un-Islamic practice of Haj subsidy. Well, he seems to be a confused man to call these things as majority appeasement. As for his demand to spend more on minority girls education, no one disagrees!



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