The CPI-M on Wednesday criticized the government for abruptly stopping the Haj subsidy for pilgrims when the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that this should be phased out over a 10-year period.

“The sudden withdrawal of the subsidy seems arbitrary and motivated by other considerations,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said in a statement.

“As per the secular principle of the State, the CPI-M is not for State subsidy, or, funding of religious pilgrimages undertaken by individuals whichever religion they belong to.

“Hence, there should be no Central or state government funding, as it exists today, of providing subsidies and grants for individuals to go on religious pilgrimages,” the statement added.