Chief Minister lays foundation stone for the facility near Yelahanka; community applauds the move but demands ownership transferred to Haj Committee
Staff Reporter | KMNN
Bangalore. Jan. 19, 2011. At long last, one of the long-pending demands of Muslims of Karnataka is going to be fulfilled.
Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda laid the foundation stone for the “Haj House” at Tirumenahalli village in Hegde Nagar, Yelahanka hobli near here on Jan. 15. The “Haj House” will come up on 3.17 acres at the cost of Rs. 40 crore.
Of the total estimated cost, the Government of Karnataka has already released Rs. 15 crore. The remaining sum of Rs. 25 crore will be allocated in the state budget for 2012-13. The Chief Minister promised that the government would release Rs. 10-15 crore more if necessary.
When completed, the “Haj House” will help the pilgrims in immigration, passport and visa procedures for the annual pilgrimage. On account of its proximity to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), the “Haj House” is expected to spare the pilgrims the trouble of accommodation and travel they have to undergo at present.
The community badly needs a “Haj House” as the present makeshift centre at the Quddus Saheb Eidgah on Miller’s Road has space constraints. Nevertheless, the dream for an exclusive “Haj House” remained just that a dream because of the vicious politics among the community leaders and indifference of the successive governments.
On the occasion, Gowda said that, as the CM, it was his duty to treat all sections of the society equally. Now that the foundation stone has been laid, construction would begin as early as possible. “There would not be any further delays,” he promised.
The BJP leader asked the pilgrims to pray for the welfare and prosperity of Karnataka whey they call upon the Almighty Allah during the pilgrimage. Gowda urged the community leaders to speak to him directly as he does not have any “egotism”. “I’m ready to solve all your problems, be they about the Karnataka State Haj Committee or the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs,” the CM said. Gowda said he would convene a meeting of Muslim legislators before the Budget is presented.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, K. Rahman Khan, prayed for the early completion of the “Haj House”. Mr. Khan blamed the internal power struggle among the community leaders for not being able to realize the dream of a “Haj House”.
“Haj Houses were built in other states as early as 15 years ago. In Karnataka, however, because of our petty differences, the dream could not be realized. Everyone among us is responsible for this,” Mr. Khan pointed out. He, however, dispelled concerns about the ownership of the Haj House. “It’s not important who is building it. What is more important is that it should be built without any hiccups,” he said.
The Ameer-e-Shariat of Karnataka, Mufti Mohammad Ashraf Ali Baqvi, prayed that the Haj House becomes a reality with as much ease as the CM laid its foundation stone. The Bangalore North MP, D.B. Chandre Gowda, admitted that the need for a “Haj House” was real because of the space constraints at the Quddus Saheb Eidgah. “We should all forget our differences and cooperate in building the Haj House. Our disputes should be confined to our households,” he said.
Haj House: The road travelled thus far
• The first direct flights for Haj pilgrimage from Bangalore to Jeddah began in 1996 when R. Roshan Baig was the Minister for Haj.
• For two years, Haj camps were held at the Muslim Orphanage on Dickenson Road.
• The Haj Camp was shifted to the Quddus Saheb Eidgah in 1998.
• Mr. Baig first mooted the idea of a full-fledged Haj House to be constructed at the Quddus Saheb Eidgah.
• When B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan was the Minister for Haj, he got five acres of government land registered for Haj House at Hennur Bande. The registration, however, was cancelled by the High Court following a petition.
• Prof. Mumtaz Ali Khan, in his tenure as the Minister for Haj, strived to get government land for the Haj House proposed to be built by the Karnataka State Haj Committee.
Haj Committee resolution
The Karnataka State Haj Committee has passed a resolution to transfer the ownership of the “Haj House” to itself. The committee’s chairman, S. Mohammad Ghouse Basha Ashrafi, said that if the ownership was not transferred, it would result in serious problems.
Byatarayanapura MLA, Krishna Byre Gowda, called upon the community leaders to properly utilize the facilities at the “Haj House” as the pilgrims would use it just for two months in a year. “It could be used for the community’s welfare and benefit in the rest of the year,” the legislator said.
Byre Gowda assured the community, on the suggestion of a Muslim youngster Suhail that he would strive for getting the ‘Namma Metro’ extended up to “Haj House” as that would help the pilgrims a deal. The Metro would be extended up to Nagawara in Phase 2 that is expected to be completed by 2017.
The foundation stone laying ceremony was attended by about 6,000 people. The attendees included many prominent leaders of the community. They were former minister Mumtaz Ali Khan, MLAs, Qamrul Islam, Tanveer Sait, U.T. Khader, Feorz Sait, N.A. Haris, MLCs, Naseer Ahmad, Abdul Azeem; the Chairman of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission, Anwar Manippady; the Chairman of the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs, R. Abdul Riyaz Khan; the Chairman of the Karnataka Urdu Academy, Amjad Hussain Hafiz Karnataki, and others.
Zameer Ahmed’s “admiration” for Jaffer Sharief
During the ceremony, Chamarajpet MLA, B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, showed his admiration for former Union Minister, C.K. Jaffer Sharief, by creating an unpleasant scene. He hurled a water bottle on a small table, shattering its glass pane. Mr. Khan was angered over the delay in mentioning Mr. Sharief’s name in the welcome speech by Syed Zamir Pasha, Secretary, Department of Minority Affairs. The duo, however, hugged each other and dismissed the incident.
The not-so-rosy picture
• The ownership of the Haj House, when completed, is a major concern for the community. Since the Department of Minority Affairs will own the facility, the community feels that it will have not exclusive control over the usage of the Haj House.
• Community leaders feel the ownership of the Haj House should be transferred to the Karnataka State Haj Committee.
• The Haj House in Chennai is run by a private trust whereas that in Hyderabad is owned by the Andhra Pradesh State Haj Committee.
• The Haj House in Mumbai is owned and run by the Haj Committee of India.