CNN-IBN must be wondering why there is no buzz about the Haj Pilgrimage scandal that they spent money on exposing. They had caught Haj committee chairman (in Himachal Pradesh) and members of various state Haj committees accepting bribe against rigging the subsidised Haj Pilgrimage list in their states.
Predictably the blogosphere is quiet. From what I understand, the issue here is not religion. If such a subsidy scheme was implemented for some Hindu Pilgrimage the corruption would be there too. The issue here is about Government subsidy which is easy money.
Why should a government subsidise a pilgrimage? Isn't it a duty of every muslim to go to Haj once in his life time, in his own money? One of the arguments put forth is that the subsidy is nothing but a volume discount offered by Air India to pilgrims. If it is so, then why should it be through the Government? Why can't the committees directly deal with the airlines? The Sachar committee report has detailed the poor state of majority of Muslims in this country. Shouldn't the Government be concentrating on those issues rather than trying to facilitate a pilgrimage?
Like any other farce in this country, we will be amused by it and move on with life. I really feel sorry for CNN IBN who must have thought they had a great scoop which turned out to be a damp squib.
Update : Indian Muslim in this post written a year back, explains the economics of Hajj subsidy and rightly points out that the Muslims should reject the subsidy as it is hurting them in many ways.