Andhra minister returns home after row over Saudi visit

October 22nd, 2010 - 3:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Oct 22 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh’s Minority Welfare Minister Mohammed Ahmadullah Friday returned home after facing an embarrassing situation in Saudi Arabia of visiting the country on Haj visa but returning without pilgrimage.

However, the minister termed the reports about him being stopped at the Jeddah airport while returning home as “baseless”. He told reporters that he would serve legal notice to the television channels which aired the story.

Ahmadullah claimed he had gone to Saudi Arabia to oversee the arrangements for the pilgrims from the state in the holy city of Mecca.

The minister, who was accompanied by his wife and two sons, denied that they violated any rules or were stopped at Jeddah airport by the authorities.

As the minister and his family members were returning home after performing ‘Umra’ (mini pilgrimage), they were reportedly stopped by the Jeddah airport authorities, who insisted that they stay in the country till the Haj season is over as they entered the country on Haj visa.

According to Saudi rules, a person who arrives on Haj visa can’t exit without performing the pilgrimage. The Indian consulate intervened to bail out the minister and his family, who then boarded a flight for Hyderabad.

The Haj season begins in the second week of November and ends in December.

Ahmadullah and his family went to Saudi Arabia Oct 15 on Haj visa as the Saudi authorities do not issue ‘umra’ visas before the Haj season.

He did not clarify why he visited Saudi Arabia on Haj visa when he was on an official visit to oversee the arrangements. The visit on Haj visa enabled him and his family members to avail Haj subsidy on airfare.

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