Right to pray: Activists want 'Haji Ali for All'

The movement to allow women’s entry into the Haji Ali dargah’s sanctum sanctorum is gaining momentum. Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, located next to the Azad Maidan held a press conference yesterday, where 50 activists from a forum called Haji Ali Sab Ke Liye (Haji Ali for all), raised the clarion call for women’s entry into the dargah.

Haji Ali dargah. Pic/ Sameer Abedi

Javed Anand, one of the activists, said, “We started mobilizing towards this around April 16, when we felt that progressive individuals and groups should come together and ask Haji Ali to follow Shani Shingnapur’s example. We welcome the judgement in the Shani Shingnapur case, and, await the Haji Ali verdict.”

He added, “Constitu-tional values of gender justice should be in place. We will try to reach out to the trustees to reconsider.” If that does not happen, the group says it plans to have a dharna outside Haji Ali on April 28. Zakia Soman from Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, who has filed the Public Interest Litigation in the Bombay HC to allow women’s entry into Haji Ali, said, “We are happy that so many people have come forward to support us. It is not just activists but even common Muslims who have joined this fight.”

Claiming that the Trust not allowing women’s entry into Haji Ali’s inner sanctum is a misrepresentation, Suhail Khandwani, a trustee of the dargah, said, “The matter is pending in court at the moment. It is untrue that the Trust is not allowing women enter the inner sanctum. We have only separated the entry and exits following the Supreme Court guidelines to provide better safety to women.”

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