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human rights issues

Appreciation on cancellation of Haj subsidy # Shamim Ahmed

The National President and International Convenor of Human Rights Protection Association Mr. Shamim Ahmed has congratulated the Indian Prime Minister Honourable Narendra Modi, his Government and Minority Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for disapproving of Haj subsidy. Mr. Ahmed says that Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and it should be performed when one can afford it with money earned righteously. As we know India is a Secular Country and the Constitution provides freedom to all Indians to practice their religions freely Human Rights Protection Association too stands with people of all religion and respect their religious ideologies. The Indian Government annually spends approximately 450-500 crores on providing Haj subsidy. Not only for Muslims the Government spends crores of rupees for other religious purposes as well. Let us take into consideration a few of them where the Government spends money and makes arrangements for various Hindu festivities and pilgrimages. The Centre spends huge amount of money to support the Kumbh Mela that is held in Haridwar, Nashik, Allahabad and Ujjain. The Centre also spends significant amount on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra where pilgrims travel through the Himalayas to Tibet. The various State Governments too have been spending large sums on Hindu pilgrimages. In Madhya Pradesh the Government subsidises various pilgrimages through the Mukhyamantri Tirtha Darshan Yojana where pilgrims are sent to Mathura, Ayodhya and St. Thomas Church in Kerala. The Jammu and Kashmir State Government supports the Amarnath Yatra through the Amarnath Shrine Board. The Haryana State Government too had spent crores of rupees for the Geeta festival in Kurukshetra. In such a scenario, much can be said about the withdrawal of Haj subsidy while the expenditure on other religious pilgrimages continues to be unabated. The Government says that withdrawal of subsidy is a part of its policy to empower minorities with dignity without appeasement. The question that now arises is that will the Government really bring about empowerment of Muslim Community. If it will then it should implement the recommendations for minorities of the Sachar Committee. The Government should set up the Equal Opportunities Commission where Muslims too will get equal opportunities in all fields be it education, employment or getting approval for loans to start business. When it comes to security of life there too it is the Muslims who are mostly unsafe, for example, the Gujarat riots of 2002. The communal violence of Gujarat brought immense shame to the Country. In order to provide physical safety to minorities. Just like the Government passed the Triple Talaq Bill enthusiastically it should even pass the Communal Violence Bill which has been lying unattended for a number of years. Mr. Shamim Ahmed says that the Government should use its funds and provide for the development of the Country, for giving physical security to its people, arrange for employment opportunities and do away with widespread poverty prevailing in the Country instead of spending on religious pilgrimages and festivities. .