Single Muslim women keen for Haj must get preference: PM

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/31/2017 3:01:33 PM

New Delhi, Dec 31 : Keeping a focused approach to empower women in general and especially the Muslim women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said 'single Muslim women' keen for going to Haj pilgrimage should be excluded from lottery system and given chance as "special category" case.
"I have suggested to the Ministry of Minority Affairs that they should 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," the Prime Minister said in his monthly radio broadcast Mann-Ki-Baat over All India Radio.
"It has come to our notice that if a Muslim woman wants to go on Haj Pilgrimage, she must have a ‘Mehram’ or a male guardian, otherwise she cannot travel. When I first heard about it, I wondered how it could be possible! Who would have drafted such rules? Why this discrimination?," Mr Modi said.
The Prime Minister said he was surprised to find that - even after 70 years of Independence, such restrictions prevailed.
"For decades, injustice was being rendered to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries this practice does not exist. But Muslim women in India did not have this right," Mr Modi said and maintained it was a matter of satisfaction that his government "paid heed" to this matter and the Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken "corrective measures".
".......we ameliorated this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past seventy years. Today, Muslim women can perform Haj without 'mahram' or male Guardian and I am happy to note that this time about 1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without 'mahram' and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to North India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage," he said.
The Prime Minister said India’s progress has been possible due to "women-power" and on the basis of their "talent" - the country will continue to march onwards on the path of progress.
"It should be our constant endeavour that our women also get equal rights and equal opportunities just like men get so that they can proceed simultaneously on the path of progress," he said.
The Narendra Modi government sought to bring about a revolutionary transformation in the life of Muslim women when Lok Sabha gave its nod to the Triple Talaq Bill - the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 that brings the practice of instant Triple Talaq or 'Talaq-e-biddat' within the ambit of criminal offence.


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