Narindera Modi speaks of freeing Muslim women from injustices


NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that his government has removed the restriction on Muslim women from performing Haj alone, following which hundreds of women have applied to travel alone for the pilgrimage.
Modi, during his monthly radio address of ‘Mann ki baat’, termed the policy of allowing Muslim women to perform Haj only in the company of a male guardian as “injustice”, saying that the removal of the restriction of having a male guardian or ‘mahram’ may appear as a “small thing”, but such issues “have a far reaching impact on our image as a society”.
Times of India reported Modi as saying that when he first heard of the restriction, he was surprised as to who would have drafted such a rule. “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 was quoted as saying in his broadcast.
In October, it was announced that Indian women over the age of 45 and travelling in groups of four will be able to go for the annual Haj pilgrimage without a male guardian next year, if the government adopts proposed reforms.
“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.
India’s PM also delivered his inaugural address for the 85th Sivagiri Pilgrimage Celebrations via video conference, during which he brought up the issue of instant triple talaq – a practice that allows men to divorce their wives instantly.
Modi, according to Hindustan Times, said that after “years of suffering”, Muslim women have finally found a way out to “free” themselves from the practice.