New Delhi, April 11: The Ministry of Minority Affairs on Wednesday opposed the plea seeking quashing of the recently issued Guidelines for Haj that barring the disabled from going on the pilgrimage and told the Delhi High Court that such persons were likely to suffer the most if any stampede or mishap took place.
“…the pilgrimage itself is exhausting, each pilgrim has to move along with hundreds of other pilgrims in a swift and short duration through long passages. There is fear of stampede or mishaps. And in such gruelling situation, it is only the pilgrim with physical disabilities who is likely to suffer the most,” the ministry said in its response on the plea seeking quashing of the recently issued Guidelines for Haj (2018-22). In an affidavit filed before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, the Ministry stated that Haj is obligated on Muslims with the physical and fincial ability to perform pilgrimage as it is physically demanding and involves arduous journey from one place to another on feet and by various other modes of transport. “It is a massive exercise in which more than two million pilgrims move from Mecca to Medi within a span of few hours, movement of pilgrims to Arafat from Mi is done in a single night,” the ministry said, adding that as per prevailing practice for 30 years, person suffering from physical disabilities or from specified diseases have been debarred from performing Haj. “The crowd magement at Mi station is a gigantic problem,” the ministry said. (IANS)