New Delhi: The Jama Masjid on Thursday withdrew a controversial order banning the entry of women in the mosque, after massive outrage over the issue prompted Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena to intervene and request the Shahi Imam to revoke the order.
Thursday’s earlier notice issued by the Jama Masjid administration read: “Jama Masjid mein ladki ya ladkiyon ka akele daakhla mana hai (The entry of a girl or girls is not permitted in Jama Masjid).” The ban on the entry of women into Delhi’s iconic mosque sparked severe backlash from politicians and civil society alike.
“The LG spoke to me. We have removed the notice boards. But people visiting the mosque have to maintain its sanctity,” Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid said.
The administration of the mosque had put up notices outside the main gates banning the entry of “girls”, whether alone or in groups, implying that they would be permitted to enter if accompanied by men.
With the ban creating a furore, the Shahi Imam had earlier in the day stepped in to say the order was not applicable to those coming to offer prayers at the mosque. The notices, which had no date, came up a few days ago outside the three main entry gates, sources in the mosque administration said.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took serious note of the matter and even demanded to know whether the mosque administration thought that India was akin to Iran or other Islamic Republics where women had their fundamental rights and liberties curtailed. Women’s rights activists also slammed the mosque’s administration, saying the order takes women centuries back.
Earlier in the day, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), affiliated to the RSS, called the move anti-women and unconstitutional and demanded that the mosque’s administration withdraw its decision. “It’s an anti-woman, anti-Constitution move. The notices banning the entry of girls into Jama Masjid should immediately be withdrawn,” VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal said.