Majid Kapra

Airlines made pilgrims suffer: Pvt Tour Operators

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‘Indifference of airlines responsible for pilgrim’s death’

Srinagar: Private tour operators on Saturday alleged that continuous delay by airlines to arrange additional flights between Delhi to Srinagar for stranded Umrah pilgrims has claimed the life of a female pilgrim at a hotel in New Delhi late last evening.

The Umrah operators said out of 750 stranded passengers around 500 were airlifted to Kashmir after protests were held at Press Enclave and at the Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport against airlines for leaving Umrah pilgrims in a fix for the past three days in national capital.

They alleged that both private and state owned airlines including Air Asia, Air India, Indigo, spice Jet and Vistara did not reschedule tickets which made pilgrims to suffer badly in second-rate accommodations at many locations in Delhi.

“Around 750 pilgrims were stranded in New Delhi after their arrival from Mecca. Besides failing to arrange additional flights for them, the low-cost carrier airlines provided them with second-rate accommodations in New Delhi,” said Parvaiz Ahmad, member of the Association of Jammu and Kashmir Hajj and Umrah Services.

The private tour operators said dozens of pilgrims are still stranded at Jammu Railway Station after airlines failed to reschedule their tickets

“After failing to arrange additional flights, the passengers who were stranded in New Delhi were brought to Jammu through rail by the tour operators, now they are stranded at Jammu railway station due to the closure of national highway,” he added.

Parvaiz also said a lady pilgrim aged about 70 from Shopian district in south Kashmir who was stranded for three days died of “Respiratory Acidosis with severe Hyperkalemia” at a hotel in New Delhi late last night.

He identified the deceased as Zaina Bano who was declared as brought dead by the doctors at a Delhi hospital.

It is pertinent to mention that as many as 50,000 pilgrims from Kashmir have performed Umrah since November last year.

“We will end our business with all airlines on permanent basis in case the stranded passengers are not airlifted immediately,” said he.

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