New Delhi [India]: Amid an uproar, the administration of Delhi’s mosque Jama Masjid withdrew its notice banning the entry of lone women.
The notice banning the entry of women coming alone or in groups to Jama Masjid was removed from Gate No. 3 of the mosque. Jama Masjid, Public Relations Officer Sabiullah Khan said, “There has been a ruckus since the news of the ban on the entry of girls, but in the midst of this, LG VK Saxena spoke to the Shahi Imam and also asked to withdraw the decision. After this, the board has also been removed. However, the people coming to the mosque will have to maintain purity here.”
Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari said, “LG sahib told us to remove the notice. We said we will remove it.”
However, mentioning why he took such a decision, Bukhari further said, “There is no restriction on the girl who is coming to offer Namaz or to visit the Masjid. But when the girl is asked, ‘what are you waiting for? What are you doing?’ She says she is waiting for her friend. So should they be allowed to go to the mosque? We came across such a video in which the girl was holding a rose flower and she was talking to her friend. She came to express love.”
“When complaints came to us, we had to impose this ban. Can we do this if we go to any other religious place? Should we allow the mosque to become an arena? A decision has to be taken as complaints are coming in,” he said.
“Should the mosque become an arena? There is no restriction on girls coming to the mosque for namaz or for roaming around,” he further stated.
“Women’s entry is not banned. When women come alone-improper acts are done, and videos are shot, and the ban is to stop this. No restrictions on families/married couples. Making religious places a meeting point is inapt,” said Jama Masjid, Public Relation Officer Sabiullah Khan on the notice.
Earlier on Thursday, the National Commission for Women (NCW) took suo motu cognizance of media reports on restrictions on the entry of women to Delhi’s iconic Jama Masjid without male companions.
The women’s panel said the ‘diktat’ was ‘gender-biased’ and constitutes a ‘violation of constitutional rights’.
The NCW further claimed that the move smacked of ‘misogyny’, adding that the Constitution does not provide for such ‘gender-based discrimination.
“The Constitution of India guarantees citizens the right to religious freedom and associated cultural practices, and prohibits gender-based discrimination,” the NCW said in a statement that was released to the press on Thursday.
Calling the decision ‘gender-biased’, the NCW release added, “The diktat of Jama Masjid is gender-biased and is a violation of fundamental rights of the women worshippers to pray.”
The release further informed that NCW chairman Rekha Sharma has written to secretaries of the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Department of Social Welfare, Delhi government and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, seeking appropriate action in the matter.
“Chairperson Ms Rekha Sharma has written to Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs and Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Govt of Delhi to take appropriate action in the matter and to ensure the right of women to practice religion as enshrined in the Constitution. The Commission has also written to Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi to look into the matter and take appropriate measures,” the release further stated.