The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has banned offering of Namaz at the mosque in Taj Mahal premises on all the days excluding Fridays. The order has become a cause of controversy among the community, even though the ASI has asserted that they are only implementing a July order of the Supreme Court.
In the July order, the top court had upheld a local administration’s diktat that hat sought to stop non-residents from offering Friday 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.
However, until now, for the rest of the week, any visitor carrying a valid ticket to Taj Mahal premises was allowed to visit the mosque and offer namaz.
In a surprise move, the ASI on Sunday locked the ‘vazu tank’, where namazis clean themselves up before offering prayers, leaving several tourists disappointed.
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, the daily reported.
On the other hand, Syed Ibrahim Hussain Zaidi, who is the president of Taj Mahal Intezamia Committee said that there was no reason to stop namaz from being offered at the mosque in Taj Mahal as the practice had been going on for the last many years, the daily noted. He added that the present government, both at the Centre and the state, harboured an “anti-Muslim” mindset. Zaidi said that he had planned to meet ASI officials on Monday to discuss the matter.
(With inputs from Times Now)