By Ather Shazan
MUMBAI — In what can be the most agonizing incident in one’s life, an Indian Haji is deported back to India even after he reached Saudi Arabia to perform Haj this year. The Indian Haji from Maharashtra’s Parbhani district was sent back by the Jeddah International Airport authorities after an error was found in his passport.
Shaikh Shaukat Ali (42) left for Haj from Aurangabad embarkation point on Sunday morning and reached Jeddah airport later in the night, said a report in Ummid.com.
During immigration check, an error was found in his passport. Consequently, the Jeddah airport authorities refused to allow him entry into the Kingdom, Haj Committee of India office said.
Shaukat was accompanied by his mother, Sahebunnisa Baigam (76). As it was not possible for him to leave her alone, she also returned along with him. Both the hajis reached Mumbai Monday morning. According to the details available from the Haj Committee of India’s Mumbai headquarters, after reaching Jeddah International airport, the authorities found on his passport expiry date written as ‘2007’ with handwritten correction making ‘0’ as ‘2017’.
“It is clearly a mistake by the passport officials. Shaukat Ali’s passport indeed expired in 2017. But there is a handwritten correction as found out by the Jeddah International Airport authorities”, Haj Committee of India CEO Ataurrehman said.
He said the passport was issued by Nagpur passport office and the error was by the office staff. He also said that Nagpur passport office admitted their mistake and confirmed that the mistake was done by its staff, and there was no fault of Shaukat Ali.
However, he refused to give any guarantee if Shaukat Ali and his mother would be able to perform Haj this year.”It has now become necessary for Shaukat Ali to get a new passport. Unless, he gets a new passport, he will not be able to fly back”, he added. The last Haj flight from India will be on October 9.