After a backlash over its order restricting the entry of unaccompanied women or girls inside the mosque premises, the Jama Masjid administration on Thursday withdrew it and clarified that it was solely aimed at preventing “obscene activities” inside the sacred place.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, told The Hinduthat they had noticed several incidents over the past few days where women and girls were indulging in “obscene activities with men” inside the mosque, following which the masjid’s committee decided to put up a notice outside the entry gates stating that “women who aren’t accompanied by their family members or are alone are not allowed inside the mosque”. The notice had been put up a few days ago and came to notice on Thursday.
The masjid had clarified that women who come along with their family members could enter the mosque but unaccompanied women often meet men inside and tend to “act improperly” and “wait for their dates”.
Following the notice, Raj Niwas sources said that Delhi Lieutenant-General V.K. Saxena spoke to Shahi Imam Bukhari and requested him to rescind the order. The Delhi Commission for Women and the National Commission for Women, taking cognisance of media reports, also came down heavily on the order and sought appropriate action in the matter.
Shahi Imam Bukhari said: “The mosque is a place of worship and not for couples who do improper activities. We do not have any issues with couples coming here but they should only come here to offer namaz. I spoke to L.G. Saxena and our administration has decided to take back the order. We only issued it to preserve the sanctity of the mosque. Hereon, whenever we see a couple indulging in such activities, we will counsel them and call their parents to instruct them to not do so. The masjid administration does not want to prevent anyone from worshipping”.