250 women pray at Haji Ali Dargah after 5 years

 Indian women leave after visiting the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai.
Indian women leave after visiting the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai.

Mumbai - Under the new arrangements, all devotees would wait and pray nearly two metres away from the tomb with rights of equal access to all.



By IANS

Published: Tue 29 Nov 2016, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 29 Nov 2016, 9:22 PM

After five years and a series of legal battles and agitations, around 250 women entered the famous Haji Ali dargah here on Tuesday afternoon and solemnly offered prayers, an activist said.
Background: Women still barred from entering Indian shrine's sanctum sanctorum
The group comprised women from all over India, including office-bearers of NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and their supporters.
BMMA co-founder Noorjehan S. Niaz said all the women activists came away pleased with the unique experience at the dargah on Tuesday.
"The trustees and officials were extremely courteous and helpful. Very thoughtfully, they offered us tea and refreshments and showed us around the place," Niaz said after returning from the dargah.
Read on: Trupti Desai offers prayers at Haji Ali Dargah
"In fact, women's entry had been allowed from November 7 onwards, but from today it has become official. It will be routine now," she said.
Till June 2012, women were allowed entry up to there but suddenly it was stopped.
In 2014, the BMMA and others challenged the move of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust in the Bombay High Court.
Important: Women fight mosque ban in India
On August 26, Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice Revathi Mohite-Dhere had ruled in favour of the petitioners and directed the trust to allow equal access to women, which the trust challenged in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court on October 24 delivered its verdict on grounds of equal access to men and women, even as the trust expressed readiness to allow women.
"It was a fight for equality, ending gender bias and our Constitutional rights. We are happy that it has resulted in women and men getting equal unrestricted access rights," said Niaz.
Khandwani said that as before (2012) there would be separate entry for men and women, but henceforth nobody would be allowed to touch the peer's tomb.
Under the new arrangements, all devotees would wait and pray nearly two metres away from the tomb with rights of equal access to all.
 


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