New Delhi: The Kerala high court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by Hindutva outfit Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha seeking entry of Muslim women into mosques even as a Muslim reformist forum announced plans to move the apex court over the issue.
According to Scroll.in, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Rishikesh Roy and Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar rejected the plea by the Hindu outfit, observing the petitioner had failed to produce evidence of claims that Muslim women were being denied entry into mosques.
The petition had been filed by Swamy Dethathreya Sai Swaroop Nath, the Kerala unit president of the outfit. Citing the September 28 Supreme Court order allowing women of all ages to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Nath urged the Kerala court to direct the Centre to issue an order allowing Muslim women to offer prayers in mosques.
Women in their “menstruating years” – i.e, aged between ten and 50 – were earlier not allowed entry into the temple.
According to a PTI report, Nath contended that Muslim women were being ‘discriminated’ against by not being allowed to enter and pray in the main prayer hall of mosques – in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution. The petitioner further claimed that Muslim women were being forced to wear veils, which he claimed segregates and degrades them.
The court, however, dismissed the petition saying that there was a lack of substantial evidence of the claim that women were being denied entry into mosques. The two-judge bench further observed that the apex court’s ruling in the Sabarimala case would not be applicable here, and if Muslim women felt they were being denied their rights and being discriminated against, they were free to move the court, Hindustan Times reported.
Muslim forum says will move apex court
A north Kerala-based Muslim reformist forum, Nisa, has meanwhile said it will move the Supreme Court next week to demand that Muslim women be allowed to offer prayers at all mosques. The organisation will further demand that Muslim women should also be allowed to become imams.
Nisa president V.P. Zuhra was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying: “I have been to Mecca where men and women worship together. In Islamic texts, women were given equal rights and positions.”
Zuhra further demanded that “When the Prophet had no problem with women worshipping at mosques,” then why were women being denied this right.
Protests against Sabarimala verdict
Meanwhile, protests against the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Sabarimala case have been ongoing. While the Kerala government has pushed forward with the order to lift the ban on entry of menstruating women into the temple, the state’s BJP unit last week urged that an ordinance be passed to continue the ban – similar to what Tamil Nadu did to continue the Jallikattu sport.
“In the wake of verdict, the Congress and Sangh parivar have been unleashing a virulent campaign aimed at toppling an elected government,” Hindustan Times quoted Left Democratic Front convener A. Vijayaraghavan as saying. “The CM is getting targeted personally for the court verdict. We will tell people the fact and make them aware of the need to implement the verdict.”
(With PTI inputs)