Stranded Hajj Pilgrims Brought to Srinagar from Delhi  

Srinagar: Hajj pilgrims, who were onboard two special flights from Jeddah to Srinagar and later re-directed to Delhi for a night halt yesterday, were brought to Srinagar International Airport in small aircraft.

A total of 8,050 pilgrims from the State performed Hajj this year. The special flights, operated by Air India, were cancelled yesterday after the first flight was denied permission by the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) to land at the Srinagar airport, triggering massive protests by the relatives of the pilgrims.

“So far three flights with a capacity of 180 passengers have landed in Srinagar airport since this morning,” an Airport official said.

He said the pilgrims were ferried in smaller aircrafts from Delhi to Srinagar due to non-availability of air buses.

“The air buses in which the pilgrims had come from Jeddah and later landed at Delhi have already left for Saudi Arabia as they are on tight schedule,” he added. “Third batch of pilgrims from Jeddah will arrive here in the evening,” he added.

The first two Hajj flights were scheduled to arrive in Srinagar yesterday from Jeddah after the culmination of annual holy pilgrimage.

However, both the flights were delayed at the New Delhi airport. When one of the flights, which took off from Delhi, was about to reach Srinagar airport it was asked to return mid-air from over Kulgam in south Kashmir.

When the family members of the pilgrims were told that the flights have been cancelled, massive protests erupted at the arrival terminal of the airport.

Security forces later resorted to lathicharge to disperse the demonstrators.