Since Tuesday, an announcement about the app TikTok being banned in the premises is being made almost every hour inside Jama Masjid. Notices stating the same are also being readied, and a team of 10 has been canvassing the area from dusk to dawn to “catch youngsters making TikTok videos”, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, told The Indian Express. This comes after “at least five viral TikTok videos” shot inside Jama Masjid surfaced, including one that shows two women doing a handstand.
Movement restrictions have also been introduced. “During prayer time, that is five times a day, namazis and non-namazis can access the two small domes only through the main dome route. We want to restrict the area occupied by people, so we can keep a watch on youngsters making such videos as music is not allowed inside a masjid,” said Bukhari.
“I know about the TikTok craze amongst youngsters but never before had such videos being shot at Jama Masjid come to my notice. In the last one month, I have been told of at least five such videos. Whether it’s a temple, a mosque or a gurdwara, one cannot behave in this manner. This is a place of worship, it is not meant for such activities,” said Bukhari.
On Monday, a Facebook page about Old Delhi heritage, Purani Dilli Walo Ki Baatein, which is followed by over 62,000 people, posted the TikTok video of the two women doing a handstand on the premises. Another video of a boy dancing to a song emerged soon after.
The founder of the Facebook page, Abu Sufiyan (28), said: “I got the video on WhatsApp, and when I uploaded it on Facebook, some people sent it to members of the Jama Masjid administration.”
Apart from the hourly announcement, the Jama Masjid administration has formed a 10-member team to ensure TikTok videos are not being made inside. The team travels across Jama Masjid on two open e-rickshaws. “Today itself, the team caught three people making such videos. Earlier we thought it was just a selfie, but a closer look showed the app. Youngsters make these videos here and then go out and add background score. If we catch them, we ask them to delete the videos. If they don’t, we delete the app from the phone,” said Bukhari.
He said “foreign tourists have been more cooperative” and are usually not the ones making such videos. “Recently, a Japanese woman was making a TikTok video, and when the team told her guide it isn’t allowed, she deleted it immediately and apologised,” said Bukhari.