Amid the controversy over the Jama Masjid administration barring the entry of women/girls “who come alone” and use it as a place to “meet boys”, a 22-year-old man from Bihar alleged that on Thursday his cousin sister was "denied entry" into the historic masjid, all by herself or in a group with him and his friend.
The man, who hails from Patna, said it was shocking and saddening that this discrimination against women was happening in "my India."
He alleged, "We were told outside the entrance gate that the men could enter, but not along with my cousin sister. My sister, who is about my age, tried to enter the mosque premises alone too, but was denied entry at the gate. She feels dejected."
"We really wanted to see the masjid from the inside as we like the tranquillity of this place. If the Jama Masjid authorities feel that someone is doing anything inappropriate, then those people can be fined or asked to leave the premises," he said. He said that his sister has in the past entered the Jama Masjid easily both, for admiring its architectural beauty and for religious purposes, but what happened today is "just shocking".
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". A senior official of the Jama Masjid administration claimed that those people who may engage in "inappropriate behaviour" are being restricted, and "not all women". The administration of Delhi's famed Jama Masjid has put up notices outside the main gates banning the entry of 'women/girls', whether alone or in groups.
As the issue led to outrage in some quarters, the Shahi Imam on Thursday stepped in to say the order is not applicable to those coming to offer prayers.
As the controversy over the notices escalated the Shahi Imam has agreed to revoke order, with the request that visitors respect and maintain the sanctity of the mosque.