A large group of Congress workers staged a demonstration here today protesting the withdrawal of subsidy for Haj pilgrims, by the Centre. Over 100 workers led by veteran Congress leader Kumari Anandan raised slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre over the move. Kumari Anandan said the subsidy for Haj pilgrims was introduced during the Congress regime and by its withdrawal, BJP was trying to 'divide' the people of India on religious basis. The annual subsidy of Rs 500 crore was helping the poor Muslims go on a pilgrimage, particularly in the fag end of their lives, he said. Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had on January 16 announced the scrapping of the subsidy for Haj from this year, four years ahead of a deadline suggested by the Supreme Court in a 2012 order. The minister also said, "Haj subsidy funds will be used for educational empowerment of girls and women of minority community." He projected the move as an effort by the government to "empower minorities" without appeasement.