Mangalore, December 7: The Hajj pilgrims, who have just returned home after their pilgrimage, are an unhappy lot. First, they were forced to wait for nearly 48 hours in the biting cold and with no food at the Jeddah Airport, and now, they are still waiting for their baggage to reach home. The pilgrims are full of complaints regarding the callous attitude of the authorities concerned.
The first batch of Haj pilgrims reached Bajpe Airport after a 48-hour delay. M. R. Vasudeva, director of Bajpe Airport, welcomed the pilgrims and informed reporters that the Turkish Airline flight bearing 220 pilgrims landed at the airport at 4:40 a.m. Around 820 pilgrims had undertaken the journey, and they will be arriving in separate batches. A cargo flight carrying the luggage of the pilgrims will soon follow. Mr. Vasudeva said that he has no information regarding the schedule of these flights.
The pilgrims, who have just returned home, complained that they were stranded at King Abdul Azeez International Airport at Jeddah for nearly 48 hours and that the authorities concerned hardly bothered about their welfare. Mohammed Ashraf, a pilgrim from Mangalore, said that they reached Jeddah Airport at 4:00 p.m. on Dec 4 and had to literally starve there in the biting cold while the flight schedule was repeatedly revised. He also said that the pilgrims had to sit inside the plane for nearly two hours since it took off two hours after the scheduled time and spent another hour at Muscat Airport. Abdurrahman added that the food offered to the pilgrims made many of them sick.
Pilgrims are also unhappy about the fact that they had to leave all their belongings in Jeddah. Haji Qamar says that they are mentally still in Jeddah because they could not bring their Zamzam water and baggage with them. He added that they are desperately waiting for their baggage, which is scheduled to reach Mangalore by cargo flight.