Logistics of the Hajj

Logistics of the Hajj
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The general public has been cautioned against the operations of unregistered tour operators who are luring the gullible people for Hajj booking. This is a prudent warning that must be taken seriously by anyone who wishes to perform this essential and much cherished pillar of Islam. Besides the injunction upon able bodied and financially or economically capable individuals (male and female) to perform the Hajj once in his or her lifetime, this holy pilgrimage constitutes the heart’s desire of almost every Muslim. The members of the Muslim community yearn and pine to perform the Hajj. Given the intensity of desire to perform this Holy pilgrimage, unfortunately, some very unscrupulous characters take advantage of people and dupe them of their valuable, hard earned savings. While unscrupulousness and dishonesty exists in every society, in one form or the other, and in different permutations and combinations and cannot be entirely eliminated, and dishonesty in affairs and matters of religion is abominable, the fact remains that there are dishonest and unscrupulous elements who go to any extent to dupe and cheat people. Closer home, in Kashmir, this has been corroborated by the existence and operations of fake travel operators who, in the name of the Hajj have deceived and duped innocent people. Not only have these people been deprived of their hard earned and meager savings but they have also been denied their heartfelt desire to perform this incumbent and essential duties enjoined by Islam, leaving them high and dry. These odious and heartless practices by some unscrupulous elements need to and must be stooped or checked. The question is how? While the administrations’ decision to name proper and legal operators and bring these in the public domain is well and good but it is not enough. More robust mechanisms need to be devised to protect the innocent and the gullible. In practice, this means a robust awareness of the real and legal Hajj operators among the people coupled and complemented by verification measures. That is, potential pilgrims must know and understand who the real operators are through verifiable measures. This is not difficult but would entail going the extra yard for the sake of the people and their protection from predators. Last, but not the least, anyone or any group found to be indulging in the odious practice of duping potential Hajj pilgrims must be dealt with sternly. Exemplary and public punishment must be meted out to them so that it serves as a deterrent for others. The Hajj is not only a duty for Muslims but also an aspiration for all Muslims and its logistics must not be played or trifled with!