Thiruvananthapuram(PTI): The Congress and IUML in Kerala today came out against the Centre’s decision to stop subsidy for Haj pilgrims from this year.
Kerala PCC President M M Hassan said the decision was the latest example of the Centre’s “enmity” towards the minority community and asked it to retract its decision.
The decision to stop subsidy for Haj from this year was announced by Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi at New Delhi today.
The subsidy for Haj pilgrims was a practice in force in the country since the time of Jawaharalal Nehru, Hassan said, adding, “there is no justitication to stop it.”
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the decision was announced with an ulterior motive.
As per a Supreme Court order, there was time till 2022 to stop Haj subsidy, he said and alleged that there was a separate agenda behind the decision.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed the decision “most unfortunate”.
“The decision to withdraw subsidy was to divide people and to destroy secularism,” he said.
Leaders of IUML, a partner in the Congress-led UDF Opposition in the state, also flayed the Centre’s decision to withdraw the subsidy.
IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty, MP, said his party would oppose it.
The Centre has taken the decision expecting that it could pay political dividends, Kunhalikutty alleged.
IUML state general secretary K P A Majeed said though there was time for the government to do away with Haj susbidy, the decision to stop it “hurriedly” was wrong, especially at a time when all arrangements were on for the Haj pilgrimage.