Govt finds 1,000 Hajj passports ‘suspicious’

September 28, 2012

Hajj agencies asked to give more docs
The government has asked Hajj agencies to provide more documents of 1,000 ‘suspicious’ Hajj pilgrims to decide whether they will be allowed to go to Saudi Arabia.
‘As we have found passports of about 1,000 people suspicious, we have asked Hajj agencies to provide financial statements and other necessary documents in support of the passports,’ Bazlul Haque Biswas, director of Hajj Office, told New Age on Thursday.
The government will
not allow them to fly to Saudi Arabia until valid papers are submitted to resolve the ‘doubt,’ the official said.
Bazlul said after verifying related documents, photographs and age of passport holders, he doubted whether they really wanted to go Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or to settle there as migrant workers.
He, however, said that they were yet to establish whether the passport holders were Rohingyas.
‘But,’ he said, ‘most of the passport holders have used their addresses in Greater Chittagong.’
Some eight Hajj and travel agencies have been spotted through which the passports were submitted to the Hajj office.
Government officials said that Rohingyas and aspirant migrant workers pretending to be intending pilgrims with the connivance of travel agents went to Saudi Arab and had not returned not return.
In 2011, according to government statistics, 961 pilgrims did not return to Bangladesh.
Considering the problems, the government this year has decided to verify papers of intending pilgrims aged below 40 years.
The Hajj Office found 1,000 passports — both machine readable and hand-written — of intending pilgrims aged between 15 years and 40 years, Special Branch officials said.
They said that they had earlier found many passport holders using wrong addresses in passports.
Further authentications of the information provided were done so that no Rohingyas or criminals could leave the country in the guise of intending pilgrims, additional superintendent of the immigration police Shamsun Nahar said.
Special Branch officials, however, said that they had so far found a number of passports being issued without any verification reports.
The Special Branch’s special superintendent (verification and passports), Nazrul Islam, told New Age that they had so far given negative reports on 275 intending pilgrims after their addresses and other information were found wrong.
‘We do not know whether these people had received their passports,’ he said.
This year, 1,12,568 people will perform Hajj from Bangladesh. Of them, 2,991 will perform Hajj under the government management.

Courtesy of New Age

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