CM requests to increase Haj pilgrims quota to 16,000

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Mumbai, Jul 26 (UNI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today wrote special letters to Union Minister for Minorities A R Antualy and Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahmed, requesting them to increase the quota of Haj Pilgrims to 16,000.

In the letter, Mr Deshmukh stated that due to reduction of Haj Pilgrims quota from the state, thousands of Muslims were denied privilege of Haj Pilgrimage, hence they were unhappy.

Maharashtra is the fourth state in the country with large Muslim population. As per 2001 Census, 10 million Muslims reside in the state.

This year, total 33,958 applications for Haj were received.

The sanctioned quota for the State for the last three years is 11,359; 11,232 and 10,016 respectively. Last year, 23,880 applications were received. But due to reduction in quota, very few applicants could go for Haj pilgrimage.

This year, the overall quota by Centre has increased by 7.32 per cent. But Maharashtra's quota has been reduced by 6 per cent.

In Uttar Pradesh, 48 per cent applicants are availing the benefit of Haj pilgrimage. In contrast, only 28 per cent applicants could go on Haj pilgrimage. Hence, 72 per cent Muslim applicants were denied the holy pilgrimage. In Maharashtra, apart from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur cities, people from other cities also apply for Haj.

Taking into consideration all these issues, this quota should be raised to 16,000, requested Chief Minister.

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