The Muslim bodies unanimously said that the money in the name of Haj subsidy, which amounted to around Rs 200 crore a year ago, went to Air India only and that Muslim pilgrims did not get any direct benefit from it. The top court had asked the government to gradually phase out the subsidy and abolish it by 2022. He said only the agents were benefitting by the subsidy, and not the people. He said that even Britishers provided assistance to Haj pilgrims by operating ships from sea ports of Bombay and Calcutta.
However despite the popular belief that the Haj subsidy amount was actually paid to India's national carrier Air India on which it survived for years, Naqvi made a freaky claim that the amount saved by ending the subsidy will be used for education of girls.
Vice-president of the all-India Haj committee Shaikh Jina said the central government's decision to stop the subsidy was based on the directives of the Supreme Court. "The subsidy will be used for educating girls", Naqvi said. "The government has done it accordingly, assuring to utilise the money meant for the subsidy on education of minorities...", said Jina, who is the Muslim face of BJP in Goa.
The subsidy took the form of discounted fares on the ailing state-owned Air India.
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The dole - nothing more than a sleight of hand by the government - was used by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other Hindutva outfits to target opposition by accusing them of "appeasing" Muslims by subsiding expenses involved in the Haj pilgrimage.
"In normal days, the return ticket to Jeddah from Delhi costs something around Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000".
"The subsidy was being shown as a favour to the Muslims, which is not true".
"Development with dignity is what we believe in", he said in announcing the decision to scrap the travel subsidy.