The government has finally taken punitive measures against 95 hajj and umrah agencies out total 104 accused agencies including the agencies of HAAB and ATAB leaders for their involvement in human trafficking in the guise of sending people for performing Umrah this year.Of those, the licenses of 69 hajj and umrah agencies were cancelled and deposits were confiscated. The other agencies were given punishment of seizing their deposits and fine worth.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has taken the decision to punish the hajj and umrah agencies according to the lists of the Saudi Arabian government and recommendation of the probe committee that the Ministry formed in last September.
Religious Affairs Minister Matiur Rahman on Wednesday disclosed the information of the punitive measures before the media at a press conference held in the Ministry conference room.
The licenses of the hajj agencies of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) President Ibrahim Bahar (Megatop Travels International), Secretary General Shaikh Md. Abdullah (Shanjari Travels and Tours), Senior Vice President Mohammad Helal (Muna Travels and Tours), Vice President Farid Ahmed Majumder (Golden Bengal Tours and Travels) and Association of Travel Agencies of Bangladesh (ATAB) President Monjur Mahbub Morshed (Sureswar Travels) were cancelled.
The owners of the agencies were also fined different sum of money along with seizing their deposits.
The KSA government had imposed ban issuing umrah visa for the Bangladeshi pilgrims in last March this year bringing allegations of human trafficking against the hajj and umrah agencies.
The authorities concerned of the country asked Bangladesh to take punitive measures against the agencies for withdrawal of the ban. But, Ministry’s Secretary Chowdhury Babul Hasan tried to save the HAAB leaders closest to him.
Different media including The Independent published several reports on the issue. Taking the reports in consideration, Religious Affairs Minister Matiur Rahman formed a probe committee led by Ministry’s Additional Secretary Kaji Shahiduzzaman in last September.
The probe body submitted its report on November 11 finalising after a two months investigation. Following the report, the Minister has taken the decision.
Around 11,485 pilgrims of 104 Bangladeshi hajj and umrah agencies did not return to Bangladesh after performing Umrah this year.
The KSA had already cancelled licences of their seven accused agencies relevant with the Bangladeshi hajj and umrah agencies.
According to the decision, HAAB President Ibrahim Bahar’s Megatop Travel’s 67, General Secretary Sheikh Md. Abdullah’s Shanjari Travel’s 65, senior vice president Helal Uddin’s Muna Travels and Tours 218, vice president Farid Ahmed Majumder’s Golden Bengal Travels and Tours 451, Vice President Aftab Ahmed Chowdhury’s Aftab Travels and Tours 243, EC member Abdul Matin’s Maruf Travels 508, Treasurer Mozammel Hossain Kamal’s Hashim Overseas 94,
EC member Khadem Dulal’s Khadem Air Service’s 94, HAAB Election Commission’s member Pear Mohammad’s Royal Air Service’s 78, leader Farid Ahmed’s United Air Travel’s 245, HAAB Chittagong President Abul Kashem’s Royal Air Service’s 205, Chittagong’s leader Abdul Khaleq’s Three Star Travel’s 240, EC member Abu Bakar Siddik’s Al-Noor Travel Agent’s 237,
Chittagong EC member Abu Taher’s Eastern Travel’s 219, leader Amanullah’s Fly Home Travel’s 215, Sylhet zonal general secretary Abdul Haque’s City Overseas 118, Ciittagong EC member Md. Ilias’s Golden Bengal Tours and Travel’s 106, HAAB leader Mahbub Mannan’s Times Aviation’s 76, EC member Md. Zakaria’s 75, EC member Fajlur Rahman’s Madina Air Travel’s 63 and EC member Khaled Iqbal’s Meridian Air’s 57 pilgrims did not return after performing Umrah.
ATAB’s President Mahbub Morshed’s Sureswar Travel’s 74, ATAB’s Chittagong zonal committee’s chairman Abu Zafar’s Concord International’s 314, General Secretary Shah Alam’s Gulf Travel’s 141, EC member Kazi Sumon’s Sharif Air’s 58 and EC member Nurul Amin’s Jubilee Air’s 47 pilgrims are yet to return.
Among the general agencies, Gemini Travel’s 940, Sabuj Bangla International’s 721, Alight Travels 405, Rabbani Travels 333, MMR Aviation’s 275, Rawshan Travels International’s 259, Al-Sobhani International’s 253, Masud Travels and Tours 225, Anjan Air Travel’s 209, Oasis Air Service’s 202, Labbaik Overseas 201, Avia Overseas 199, Evergreen Travel’s 196, Air Express International’s 195, KSP Travel’s 182, Bangladesh Overseas Service’s 179, ICO International’s 149, Wings Travel’s 148, City Neon Travel’s 144, Admire Air Service’s 136, MP Travel’s 135, Topcon Overseas 128, Lord Travel’s 77, Lucky Overseas 76, Bengal Trade and Tourism’s 75, Easy Way Travel’s 72, Comilla Travel’s 68, Mollik Travel’s 64, Razan Overseas 64, Atlantic Travel’s 63, Purple Aviation’s 62, Saad Air’s 61, Farhan Aviation’s 60, Star Holiday’s 38 and Rajshahi Travel’s 37 pilgrims are yet to come back.