Monday, October 23, 2017

Petition to High Court seeks probe into Hajj chaos

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-08-13 15:05:50 BdST

bdnews24

A rights body seeks an order from the High Court to open an investigation into the Hajj mismanagement as over 68,000 Bangladeshis are yet to board a flight with just two weeks to the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh or HRPB filed a petition with the court on Sunday, which seeks an order for measures to arrange special flights within 48 hours.

Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan may hear the matter on Sunday, HRPB counsel Manzill Murshid told bdnews24.com.

As many as 127,198 Bangladeshi pilgrims are expected to perform the Hajj this year.

But until Saturday, 58,361 pilgrims reached Saudi Arabia.

Complications in securing visas for pilgrims this year have led to a shortage of passengers forcing Biman Bangladesh Airlines to cancel over two dozens of Jeddah flights this year.

The religious affairs ministry says information about the rented accommodations of pilgrims is required for visa applications. Travel agents have delayed filing visa applications as they deemed the rent would come lower as the Hajj nears, creating a backlog.

The situation has further worsened with the Saudi authorities’ sudden move to impose an additional 2,000 riyals for pilgrims, who performed Hajj in the last two years, which came alongside a hike in the fees for guides in Saudi Arabia.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has so far cancelled 23 Hajj flights this year due to a shortage of passengers since it started carrying pilgrims on July 24.

The Saudia Airline has also cancelled four of its scheduled flights to Jeddah.

Almost 11,000 pilgrims could have gone to Saudi Arabia in those cancelled flights.

The Bangladesh Hajj Office in Makkah said Saudi authorities have so far issued visas for 103,750 Bangladeshi pilgrims with another 20,841 applications still pending.