Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday took a swipe at those opposing the Modi government’s decision to allow women to go for Haj without ‘Mehram’ (male guardian), saying they were suffering from the “chronic disease of anti-women mindset”.
More than 1,300 women from across the country have applied to go for Haj without ‘Mehram’ (male guardian) and they will be exempted from the lottery system and allowed to go for the pilgrimage.
“Those who are opposing the Modi government’s decision to lift ban on women going for Haj without ‘Mehram’, are suffering from chronic disease of anti-women mindset,” Naqvi said in a statement.
He reiterated that after the suggestion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, all those women who have applied to go for Haj without ‘Mehram’ will be exempted from the lottery system and allowed to go for the pilgrimage.
Taking on the critics of the decision who argue that the government has done nothing as it was Saudi Arabia which allowed women above 45 years to perform Haj without ‘Mehram’, Naqvi asked why earlier governments had not taken any action on it.
This decision was taken after the committee formed by the ministry to prepare a new Haj policy, flagged this issue with the government. It was followed by discussions between the government and Saudi authorities.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi yesterday dismissed Modi’s claim that it was his government, which had made it possible for the Muslim women to perform Haj without being accompanied by a male guardian.
“This regulation (enabling Muslim women above 45 years of age to perform the pilgrimage without a male guardian) was passed by the Saudi Haj authorities many years ago,” the Hyderabad MP had said.
The Centre has for the first time decided to allow women pilgrims over the age of 45 to undertake the pilgrimage in groups of at least four sans ‘Mehram’.
The term ‘Mehram’ refers to a male, a woman cannot marry in her life (i.e. father, brother or son etc). Till now, women pilgrims would be required to be accompanied by their husbands or ‘Mehrams’ during the annual pilgrimage.