India ends decades-old subsidy for hajj pilgrims


India’s Hindu nationalist government is ending a decades-long policy of offering discounted airfares to Muslims embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage, it announced on Tuesday (16). The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has accused its opponents in the Congress party — who introduced the Hajj assistance scheme in the 1950s — of trying to woo Muslim voters through handouts. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government wants to assist India’s roughly 175 million Muslims without resorting to political “appeasement” along religious lines. “Development with dignity is what we believe in,” he said in announcing the decision to scrap the travel subsidy.…

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