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Azam urges PM to attend Haj conference

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Minority Affairs minister and state Haj Committee chairman Mohammad Azam Khan on Saturday requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend an All India Haj Conference proposed to be held in April saying his participation would help in solving problems facing pilgrims.
        
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Azam said his participation would boost the morale of pilgrims and help in solving various problems plaguing them. The minister said he had made similar requests on November 29 and January 30 to him, but unfortunately there was no response from the Prime Minister.
         
This had led to delays in fixing the dates for the conference, he said.
        
Azam said he himself had witnessed and realised the numerous problems that Indian pilgrims had faced during the Haj in Saudi Arabia last year when he went there. He said the UP government had decided to organise the conference to find a permanent and respectable solution to these problems.
          
The minister also drew the PM's attention towards the problem facing pilgrims in getting passport. Azam had earlier written to External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid asking him to reconsider the Centre's decision to provide subsidy to Haj pilgrims once in a lifetime against the earlier policy of once in five years.
          
On May 8 last year, the Supreme Court had directed the government to eliminate Haj subsidy within 10 years, saying this amount could be used for social and educational development of the Muslims.

(Agencies)

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