New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) ban on offering namaz at the mosque inside the Taj Mahal has irked the Muslim community. Muslim clerics said the ban was wrong and violated their fundamental rights.
As per the ASI order issued on Monday, namaz cannot be offered at the mosque located inside the Taj Mahal except on all days, except for Friday.
President of All India Imam Federation, Sajid Rashidi, told news agency ANI: “The decision by the ASI is wrong, and they cannot have such double standards. In Delhi, they have around 123 properties, and within those 123 properties there are several mosques, they even wrote a letter to the Wakf board asking them to appoint imams in those mosques.”
Questioning the timing and the alleged double standard of government, he said government institutions are under pressure. “All this is being done to create a rift between Hindus and Muslims,” he said.
Muslim cleric Mufti Mukarram said, “ASI’s decision is wrong and unjustified; there is no explanation for it… Mosques are built to offer prayers, and it is our fundamental right given to us by the constitution.”
He also asked ASI to immediately revoke its order.
ASI defends itself, saying following Supreme Court order
ASI officials asserted that they were simply implementing the Supreme Court order that was delivered in July this year.
In the July order, the Apex court had upheld a local administration’s diktat that had sought to stop non-residents from offering namaz at the mosque in view of the security of Taj Mahal. As Taj Mahal remains closed for the public on Friday, local residents are permitted to offer prayers between 12 pm and 2 pm without buying an entry ticket.
Caretaker taken by surprise
Imam Syed Sadiq Ali, whose family has been tasked with leading the prayers at the mosque for decades, also expressed surprise at the new order. The imam and staff of the mosque have also been ordered to show up at the mosque only on Fridays, a Times of India report said.
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