DCW issues notice to Jama Masjid for ban diktat, Bukhari says restrictions on impropriety, vulgarity

File photo.

  • The administration of Delhi’s iconic Jama Masjid has put up notices outside the main gates banning the entry of girls and women, whether alone or in groups.
  • The notice announcing the ban was put on the entrance gates of Jama Masjid a few days back.
  • Decision to stop the entry of women into Jama Masjid is absolutely wrong: Swati Maliwal

In a sharp reaction to the Jama Masjid Mosque Management Committee’s decision to ban the entry of a lone woman into the mosque complex, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) served notice to Shahi Imam of the historic mosque seeking to know why the entry of women going to worship alone has been banned.

Taking suo-motu cognisance of the media report, DCW chief Swati Maliwal said: “I am issuing notice to the Imam of Jama Masjid.” She tweeted: “The decision to stop the entry of women into Jama Masjid is absolutely wrong. As much as a man has the right to worship, so does a woman. I am issuing notice to the Imam of Jama Masjid. No one has the right to ban the entry of women like this.”

“This is an unconstitutional step taken by them. Do they think this is Iran, where they can discriminate against women and no one will say anything? A woman has an equal right to pray as a man. DCW will make sure the ban is removed,” Maliwal said.

The DCW notice reads: “The board prohibits the entry of women and girls in the Masjid who are not with male companions. The Jama Masjid in Delhi is a historical mosque and women have been going there to perform religious practices without any restriction FOR ages. Preventing women from freely entering and practising their religion in the mosque is highly discriminatory and an extremely regressive practice as a place of worship should be open to everyone, regardless of their gender.”

A notice has been placed at the entry of Jama Masjid stating that entry of a girl or girls alone (without families) into the mosque would be banned. It came up a few days ago outside the three main gates.

‘Preserving sanctity of mosque’

As the issue led to widespread outrage, the mosque management said only inappropriately dressed visitors disrespectful to the sanctity of the place of worship were being barred. Jama Masjid’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari stepped in to explain that the order is not applicable to those coming to offer prayers. According to Shahi Imam, 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/women coming alone and waiting for their dates… this is not what this place is meant for. The restriction is on that,” Imam 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,” Imam Bukhari added.

The Mughal era iconic mosque attracts thousands of devout as well as tourists from across the globe.

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