By Muslim Mirror Desk
The administration of Delhi’s famed Jama Masjid has put up notices outside the main gates banning the entry of ‘girls’, whether alone or in groups. As controversy escalated, the mosque’s Shahi Imam on Wednesday said the order is not applicable to those coming to offer prayers.
The issue led to an outrage in some quarters as women rights activists termed the mosque’s decision regressive and unacceptable.
The notices, which have no date, came up a few days ago outside the three main entry gates, sources in the administration said. However, it has come to attention only now.
“Jama Masjid mein ladki ya ladkiyon ka akele daakhla mana hai (The entry of a girl, or girls is not permitted in Jama Masjid),” reads the notice by the administration of the 17th century Mughal era monument that attracts thousands of devout as well as tourists.
While Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal termed it a violation of women’s rights and said she was issuing a notice, sources in the National Commission for Women said it has taken suo motu cognisance of the matter and is deciding on the action to be taken.
Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari said the decision was taken after some “incidents” were reported on the premises of the heritage structure.
“Jama Masjid is a place of worship and people are welcome for that. But girls coming alone and waiting for their dates… this is not what this place is meant for. The restriction is on that,” Bukhari told PTI.
“Any such place, be it a mosque, temple or gurudwara is a place of worship (ibadat ki jagah hai) and there is no restriction on anyone coming for that purpose. Just today, a group of 20-25 girls visited and they were allowed to enter,” Bukhari added.
In the past, music video shoots by visitors were prohibited. An old board outside the entry gate facing the busy Matia Mahal area bears the message: “Music video shoot is strictly prohibited inside the mosque”.
Sources in the Jama Masjid administration claimed that people who engage in “inappropriate behaviour” are being restricted and “not all women”.
IANS tweeted a post of DCW chief Swati Maliwal.
#SwatiMaliwal after #Jamamasjid administration bans women entry into the mosque.@SwatiJaiHind @DCWDelhi pic.twitter.com/ldrGDP3KQi
— IANS (@ians_india) November 24, 2022
The panel, in its notice, has sought details on the reasons for prohibiting the entry of women and girls “without male companions” in the Jama Masjid and the person responsible for restricting the entry of women and girls.
“If the decision was taken in a meeting, please provide a copy of minutes of the meeting. Steps taken by authorities now for removing the restriction imposed on entry of women and girls,” it said.
The DCW also has sought a detailed action taken report in the matter by November 28.
Women rights activists hit out at the mosque’s administration, saying it takes women centuries back.