Hajeej Performs Vanishing Act, Pilgrims Aghast

Srinagar - In a replay of last year’s events, the pilgrim tour operator Hajeej is again at the receiving end of public ire for cheating and fraud, charges refuted by the firm.

Prospective Hajj pilgrims booked with the company this season staged angry protests in Srinagar, saying its offices were closed and staff absconding along with director Fabiyan Waheed Gilkar without any of them having been provided visas.

 “We deposited our money in August 2011 for Hajj pilgrimage in 2012.After last year’s fraud, the head of the agency gave a written agreement before the session’s judge that there would be no inconvenience in future with regard to visas. Later, he assured us that our visas were ready, but now when it’s time to for Hajj, he is absconding. They have closed down their office at Srinagar and Delhi. They are not even at their home,” Ghulam Rasool Dar, a protesting Hajj aspirant said.

The protesters alleged that after taking the fee in advance  in 2011 the company had again  asked applicants for a payment of 30,000 this year.

“At the eleventh hour they have deceived us. People around are leaving for Hajj. Embassy for Hajj at Delhi will be close on  October 7. So we request the chief minister to look into the matter immediately,” another protester said.

Meanwhile, Fabiyan’s father, Waheed Gilkar, told the Kashmir Observer, that whether the aspiring pilgrims would get visas or not would become clear on the 29th of this month.

“If the visas are not arranged on by that date, passports and the money will be refunded to all the aspirants within a couple of days,” he said

He said no one from the family was hiding, as alleged by the agitating aspirants.

“We are all here,” he said.

When asked why the company’s Srinagar office was closed for the last two days, Waheed said: “Our employees were manhandled and beaten by some people, so they are scared to turn up.”

 He said that his son (Fabiyan) will face the public himself on September 29

“Fabiyan is not hiding at all. He is busy in Delhi for managing the visas,” he said.

“The situation is not deliberate. It is just bad luck,” he said.

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