A group of 64 Christian pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh who embarked on tour of religious places in Egypt, Jordan and Israel were duped by City-based Holy Land Tours and Travels located in Secunderabad. The incident came to light when the pilgrims reached the capital of Egypt — Cairo — and were denied entry in Delta Pyramid Hotel. The management reportedly forcefully took off the passports and valuables and asked them to leave the hotel. The pilgrims reportedly paid `75,000 to the travel agency. The group left on the tour on May 28 from Hyderabad. The agent Francis Xavier who was supposed to join the group in Egypt did not turn up leaving the pilgrims in quandary. When Postnoon contacted Francis, he said that the pilgrims were stranded due to some visa problems. He further added that they have sent their representatives. However, said the visas will take some time.
The All India Christian Council President Gera Hanok expressed concern over the security of the pilgrims and requested the State government to intervene into the issue.
Minister for intermediate and secondary education K Pardhasarathi confirmed the news and said that the State government would do everything to rescue the pilgrims.
Managing director of Andhra Christian Minorities Finance Corporation, JR Sudheer said that principal secretary of social welfare department Raymond Peter spoke to the officials. He also said that action would initiated against the travel agent. “We have launched an inquiry and will take action against the agent if guilty,” he said.