Visas of Haj pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh delayedOctober 30th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, Oct 30 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh minister and chairman of state Haj committee Naseemuddin Siddiqui Thursday blamed the central government for delay in approval of visas for thousands of Haj aspirants from the state.”Failure of the external affairs ministry to ensure timely sanction of visas for the prospective Haj pilgrims led to cancellation of the first Haj flight scheduled to take off from Lucknow airport Thursday afternoon,” Siddiqui told a press conference here.
“This speaks volumes of the central government’s neglect and apathy towards the plight of those who were waiting to proceed for Haj by the first flight,” Siddiqui said.
He added: “Despite all my efforts I could not speak to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, so I have written a letter to him in the hope that he will rise to the occasion and do something to save the Haj pilgrims from further harassment.”
In his letter, the Uttar Pradesh minister has sought to the draw Mukherjee’s attention to the allegedly indifferent attitude of officials of the Haj Commitee of India.
He termed a status report sent by the Haj Committee of India to the state as “misleading.”
“The report had stated that the visas for 3,000 Haj pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh would reach Lucknow by Oct 29, but even until the afternoon of Oct 30, we have received nothing with the result that all those who were scheduled to leave today were left stranded at the Haj House here,” he added.