Chaos ruled this year’s lucky draw programme for Hajj organised by the Delhi Hajj Committee at Talkatora stadium on July 23. For the first time in Delhi Hajj Committee’s history the lot was drawn with the help of computer.
Every year thousands of Hajj aspirants file their applications at the Delhi State Hajj Committee. But it had a fixed quota of 1151 which was raised to 1260 this year. Besides, Delhi gets its share from the remaining seats of the other states. This year Delhi Hajj Committee could send 1547 aspirants on Hajj pilgrimage. This quota is more than the last year’s but at the same time the number of applicants was also greater. This year 5200 aspirants filed their application which is a thousand more than the last year’s 4200. Now, of the 5200 only 1547 aspirants could avail government’s sponsorship.
This happens every year. So, the state Hajj Committee organizes a lucky draw. This time the lot was drawn for 1299 names. The Hajj Committee had set apart 279 seats for the aged – those 75 years or above of age – and a maximum of three attendants.
The draw was organised at the Talkatora stadium in the presence of all the applicants. But a sudden change took place two days before this programme – the acting chairman of the Hajj Committee was suddenly removed and another person installed in his place. Although the decision of appointing a permanent chairman was pending for long but perhaps nobody had expected that it would be done so hastily at this point of time.
The acting chairman, Parvez Mian, had worked hard to arrange for the lucky draw programme and just when everything was ready, he was relieved of his responsibility. Many people thought it was not proper on part of the Food and Civil Supplies minister, Raj Kumar Chauhan – who looks after the State Hajj committee affairs – to remove the acting chairman in this fashion. According to the sources, the chaos and commotion in the hall where lots were being drawn, was directly linked to this incident. In other words, it was suspected that the usurped acting chairman had a hand in creating the disorder in the hall.
People were also sceptical about the computerised draw. They wanted it in the traditional manual way. The computerised data could be tinkered with and the keys were in the Hajj Committee officials’ hands, they thought, and that the element of transparency in the lucky draw was compromised through the computerised system.
The Delhi State Hajj Committee has been a hub of controversies for some months now after some of its officials were caught on camera accepting bribe. And the controversies still don’t seem to be over.
According to the sources an MLA and former minister in Delhi Cabinet is not happy with the present nominee for the post of chairman and he would wield his influence to keep the latter from getting into the hot seat. At present, Delhi government has nominated four out of total seven members to the Hajj Committee. Now, it is to be seen what happens before the final declaration of the name of the next chairman. For the time being Habib Akhter, a Raj Kumar Chauhan favourite is holding the reins.