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A group of intending hajj pilgrims on Saturday staged demonstrations in front of the Ashkona hajj camp in the capital, demanding punishment of hajj agencies for fraudulence.

Shortly after the Zuhr prayers, the aspirant hajj pilgrims who could not yet fly for Makkah apparently either mismanagement or fraudulence of the hajj agencies, brought out a procession carrying a banner.

Officials in the hajj agencies said the uncertainty whether as much as 3,000 pilgrims will at all be able to reach Saudi Arabia to perform hajj is not over as yet.

Some 127,198 pilgrims were scheduled to perform hajj from Bangladesh this year under government and private management, following the restoration of its quota that was suspended for four years due to renovation work on the Kaaba premises, during which the number fell to 101,000-102,000.

During the demonstration, intending pilgrims accused several hajj agencies including Madina Air International Aviation, Al Balak, Sanjid Travel, and Eco Travel of fraudulence.

They alleged that these agencies took money from them but were yet to issue them the air tickets.

They also staged demonstrations earlier on Friday in front of the Ashkona hajj camp.

Talking to newsmen at Hajj Director’s office, parliamentary standing committee on religious affairs ministry chairman Bazlul Haque Harun said general diaries have been filed against the hajj agencies accused of fraudulence.

“The general diaries will be turned into cases if they don’t send the pilgrims in a day or two,” he said.

Of 127,198 scheduled intending pilgrims, 951 could not submit their passport for visa even by the last date, albeit the Saudi authorities extended the timeline for two days, and thus lost all the chances to get the visa this time.

As of Friday, a total of 109,096 pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia. The national flagship carrier, Bangladesh Biman Airlines, will operate its last flight today, Saturday, and Saudi Airlines will carry pilgrims until next Monday.

And by this time, some 17,157 pilgrims will have to be carried to the holy city of Makkah.

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