While 'Haji Ali for All' gives Trupti Desai the boot from forum, the activist says they don't have the courage for an andolan
The first fissures have appeared in the 'Haji Ali for All' forum as it has dissociated itself from poster girl Trupti Desai and her Bhoomata Brigade. The 'Haji Ali for All' forum, which comprises 50 activists, was formed late last month, to press for women to have equal access to the inner sanctum at the Haji Ali dargah.
Activist Trupti Desai outside Haji Ali dargah on April 28. File pic
They got their public moment on April 28, when they held a peaceful dharna near Haji Ali dargah with posters and banners. Several speakers gave speeches, in an area cordoned off near the juice centre. It was an evening of high drama with the dharna beginning at 4pm. Trupti Desai was supposed to be there on time, instead she arrived at the tail end of the protest by 5.30 pm.
Forum members claimed that they have taken a unanimous decision, at a meeting yesterday afternoon, because after Trupti had agreed to be part of a set programme announced by the forum, she acted "unilaterally, in contrary fashion" at the last moment.
'Wasn't a part'
Trupti Desai fired back saying, "I do not know how they can remove me from the forum as I was never part of it. I was simply supporting the movement. There were certain compulsions for me reaching late, they (the Haji Ali for All organisers) should have waited for me, instead of running away. They do not have any 'dum' (courage). Such andolans (movements) are long drawn out and need sustained four to five attempts. You cannot give up. Everybody wants to shine with 'breaking news' on TV. Even I do not want to work with them."
Javed Anand, of Haji Ali for All, scoffed when he was told of Trupti Desai's reaction to the news. "She knew what the plans for April 28 were when they were announced at a press conference on April 20. So, she should have had the guts to announce her different plans at that time," said Anand. He clarified that it was not the fact that Desai reached late for the dharna that caused her ouster but that she insisted to the media on going inside the dargah, instead of sticking to the original plan of a peaceful protest outside.
Firoze Mithiborwala, of Haji Ali for All, said they have 'dissociated' themselves with Desai, because "we were on the same page till April 27, but the next morning, she announced to the media that instead of the demonstration outside, she will go inside the dargah. She was going about this like a bull in a china shop and Trupti Desai, because of her own political ambitions is harming the Haji Ali movement, which we will absolutely not tolerate."