AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for his comment that Muslim women above 45 years could travel for Haj without a male guardian. He slammed Modi for allegedly claiming that his government has removed the discriminatory restriction.
“It is the Saudi Haj authorities that have allowed any Muslim women above 45 years from any country without a Mehram to do Haj. It does not behove the PM to take credit for what a foreign govt has done,” Owaisi said.
According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, now Muslim women aged above 45 will be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mehram’ in a group of at least four. PM Modi, in his monthly radio address of ‘Mann ki baat’, said removal of the restriction of having a male guardian or ‘mehram’ may appear as a “small thing”, but such issues “have a far reaching impact on our image as a society”. Calling it discriminatory and unjust, he said his government has removed the restriction following which hundreds of women have applied to travel alone for the pilgrimage. This year as many as 1,300 women have applied to travel to Haj without a male guardian, he said
The PM had on Sunday expressed his initial shock and amazement at the rule when he had first heard of it. “Why this discrimination? And when I went into the depth of the matter I was surprised to find that even after 70 years of our independence, we were the ones who had imposed these restrictions. For decades, injustice was being rendered to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it,” he said.
He further claimed to have suggested the Ministry of Minority Affairs to ensure that all women who have applied to travel alone be allowed to perform Haj. “Usually there is a lottery system for selection of Haj pilgrims but I would like that single women pilgrims should be excluded from this lottery system and they should be given a chance as a special category,” he said.