New Delhi, November 25
Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari was on Thursday forced to rescind an order restricting the entry of women into the mosque following public outrage and a request by Delhi L-G VK Saxena. Taking cognisance, the National Commission for Women and the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) said no one had the right to ban the entry of women into any shrine.
The Shahi Imam’s notice, which had no date, was pasted a few days ago outside the three main entry gates of the 17th century Mughal-era mosque, but attracted attention only now. “Jama Masjid mein ladki ya ladkiyon ka akele daakhla mana hai (entry of unescorted girl/girls is not allowed into Jama Masjid),” read the notice. “Jama Masjid is a place of worship…. girls coming alone and waiting for their dates… this is not what this place is meant for. There is no restriction on anyone coming for worship,” Bukhari said.
Later in the evening, he withdrew the order after the Delhi L-G spoke to him. “We have removed the notice. But people visiting the mosque have to maintain its sanctity,” he stressed. Jama Masjid spokesperson Sabiullah Khan claimed there were women who came to Jama Masjid for videos.
“It is not a meeting place. People who come there to worship are welcome,” he said, adding that teams would be deployed that would ask visitors the purpose of their visit. “If the reason is not appropriate, they will be asked to return. If they are coming as tourists, they will be allowed, but not for shooting videos,” he elaborated.