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Rights Body Complains of Discrimination in New Haj Rules, Says 'We are Not Crippled'

According to the proposed Haj committee report, those with disorders such as thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, Parkinson’s, multiple disabilities, including deafness, blindness, and even acid attack victims have been excluded.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:December 28, 2017, 12:32 PM IST
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Rights Body Complains of Discrimination in New Haj Rules, Says 'We are Not Crippled'
General view from a plane window shows muslims as they pray at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on September 2, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Suhaib Salem)
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New Delhi: As the new Haj committee report recommends to exclude acid attack victims and people with amputated legs from performing Haj among other eligibility restrictions, a disabled rights body in India has written to the Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, urging that certain ‘discriminatory provisions’ be dropped.

The latest guidelines from the proposed Haj Committee report headed by Afzal Amanullah states criteria of people who are eligible for Haj and the people who have not been included are 1) who do not have the mental or physical health to perform the pilgrimage, 2) Persons whose legs are amputated, who are crippled, handicapped, lunatic or otherwise physically / mentally incapacitated, and those afflicted with polio, tuberculosis, congestive cardiac & respiratory ailment, acute coronary insufficiency, coronary thrombosis, mental disorder, infectious leprosy, AIDS or any other communicable disease / disability.

According to the proposed Haj committee report, those with disorders such as thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, Parkinson’s, multiple disabilities, including deafness, blindness, and even acid attack victims have been excluded.

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled has taken strong offence of such a “discrimination” and urged the government to drop it as they were against the recently passed Disabilities Act and the principle of equality.

“We feel the language that the committee has used against us is abusive. We are not crippled. The country where we have Haj do not discriminate against us and they have guidelines on what facilities are available and what facilities are not available for the disabled. On the contrary, the Ministry of Hajj has put out an advisory on its site giving information on the facilities available for disabled pilgrims,” said M Muralidharan, General Secretary of The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled.

The group has called upon the Ministry of Minority Affairs Minister to realise that, “these provisions that virtually bar any disabled person from undertaking the Haj are in violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which has equality and non-discrimination as its guiding principle. We would request that the above provisions in the guidelines that blatantly discriminate against persons with disabilities be dropped,” reads the letter.

Under the Disabilities Act, which was passed in December 2016, the types of disabilities have been increased from the seven to 21.

| Edited by: Puja Menon
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