Trupti Desai offers prayers at Haji Ali Dargah

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Trupti Desai offers prayers at Haji Ali Dargah
Activist Trupti Desai during her visit to the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai on Thursday

Mumbai - Accompanied by a few members of her Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, Desai followed the normal procedure and prayed along with other women devotees.

By Nithin Belle

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Published: Fri 13 May 2016, 9:29 PM

Activist Trupti Desai visited the Haji Ali Dargah here on Thursday morning and offered her prayers, but did not violate the ban on women entering the inner sanctum.
Accompanied by a few members of her Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, Desai followed the normal procedure and prayed along with other women devotees. There was a strong police presence at the dargah, located 500 metres off Mumbai's Haji Ali promenade.
The activist, who had last month forced the Shani Shingnapur and Trimbakeshwar temples in Maharashtra to overturn their centuries-old ban on women entering the inner sanctum, warned she would launch an agitation in a fortnight if the dargah authorities refused to allow women to pray from the same spot as men.
On April 28, the police and activists opposed to her had prevented her from entering the Haji Ali dargah. But on Thursday, she took prior permission from the police and was accompanied by many officials during her visit.
"I prayed that women be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah, as was the case till 2011," Desai told reporters later. "Next time, we will try to pray there. This is a fight for gender equality."
Her attempt to enter the dargah has been opposed by some leaders. Arafat Shaikh, a Shiv Sena leader, had warned last month that he would beat her with slippers if she tried to enter the dargah. A leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) threatened to smear her face with ink if she tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum.
The Haji Ali Dargah Trust has also justified the ban on women entering the inner sanctum, pointing out that it is anti-Islam. It also said that since it is a minority trust, it should be exempted from the rule - reiterated by a high court judgement .
AIMIM leader Rafat Hussain said while Desai was welcome to offer her prayers at the dargah, she would not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum in her lifetime.

 >The activist warned she would launch an agitation in a fortnight if the dargah authorities refused to allow women to pray from the same spot as men
>On April 28, the police and activists opposed to her had prevented her from entering the Haji Ali dargah
> But on Thursday, she took prior permission from the police and was accompanied by many officials during her visit. The event passed off peacefully.



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