Bhopal: Pilgrims stuck in Saudi Arabia to return home within a week

Bhopal: About 63 pilgrims from Bhopal and other places of Madhya Pradesh, who were stuck in Saudi Arabia after their travel agent ditched them with fake tickets, will be returning home within a week.

Congress MLA Arif Masood, who reached Jeddah on Monday, took initiatives to provide relief to the pilgrims.

Masood also bought air tickets for two women pilgrims from Shyampur, 26 kms from Bhopal, who have fallen sick and sent them back.

About five dozen people from Bhopal and surrounding areas were sent to Saudi Arabia by a Bhopal-based travel agent for Umrah. However, return tickets provided to pilgrims by travel agents Akbar and Yusuf proved to be faked.

When these pilgrims contacted the travel agent they were told that their tickets will be booked when fares will come down. They were constantly given dates but not air tickets.

Six pilgrims bought return tickets from their own pockets and returned to Bhopal. They lodged an FIR with Jehangirabad police station after which travel agents Akbar and Yusuf were detained by the police.

But these actions did not provide any relief to pilgrims who were in distress and stuck in Saudi Arabia. Contd. on P10

Total 57 pilgrims were stuck in two groups of 25 and 27 each in Jeddah and Medina. They have been provided free accommodation in the Waqf Guest House. Some relatives of the victims had met Masood in Bhopal.

Masood talked to senior IAS Faiz Ahmad, posted in Mandi Board in Bhopal. Ahmad had been posted at the Indian Consulate in Saudi Arabia before his appointment in Madhya Pradesh.

Ahmad talked to officials posted at the Consulate and urged them to make provisions for sending the pilgrims back to India. Nafees, a representative of Masood in Bhopal, said that all pilgrims will be sent back within a week.

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