Mumbai: After Shani Shingnapur 'victory', hope for Haji Ali crusaders

With the doors opening for activist Trupti Desai and the Bhumata Brigade in fact, for women for entry into the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple, the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) is hopeful that women get entry into the Haji Ali dargah.

Haji Ali dargah has stopped women from entering the inner sanctum of the dargah since 2011. file picHaji Ali dargah has stopped women from entering the inner sanctum of the dargah since 2011. file pic

The BMMA, founded in Mumbai in 2007 has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court seeking entry of women into the inner sanctum of Haji Ali dargah. They have also demanded a ban on the practice of 'Triple Talaq' (verbal divorce).

Noorjehan Safia Niaz from BMMA said, “The Shani Shingnapur happening is very positive. I am sure it will influence our PIL verdict as well. In February this year, we were told that our verdict would be announced in five weeks, we are still waiting. Hopefully, soon we will also get the green signal. Our case is easier since women were stopped from entering in 2011, women were allowed access t. Now, if the temple, which had not allowed women to enter for centuries, throws open its doors to them, then, the Dargah which has closed its doors to women for five years should once again open them for women. We can also expect good things.”

Zakia Soman from the group said, “The Shani Shingnapur verdict is a huge precedent. I am hoping we also get a favourable verdict, before the court goes for vacation. Our battle is legally and theologically sound as Islam treats men and women equally. In the Kaaba in Mecca, men and women go as equals. The dargahs represent plural and liberal Islam. The banning of women was pure nonsense. Reasons like they distract men or that they are unclean and dirty were used to stop access. Till 2011, for almost 100 years, women were allowed into Haji Ali, after which they were stopped. So, we expect good news soon, too.”

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