Rights activist Trupti Desai on Thursday entered Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah to offer prayers amid tight security, saying her struggle was for gender equality. “At the Dargah, I prayed that women be allowed to enter the inner sanctum, as was the case till 2011,” Bhumata Ranragini Brigade chief Desai said, after coming out of the Dargah.
“Police cooperated with us this time. This is a fight for gender equality. We will try to visit the inner sanctum next time,” she said. Desai and other women activists were earlier denied entry to the Dargah last month.
Desai, however, warned the Dargah trustees of protest in 15 days if women are not allowed to pray where men do. “We saw where we are allowed till and where men go till inside Dargah, in 15 days trustees should allow women in else we will protest.”
The Haji Ali Dargah Trust has justified the prevailing customs on grounds that permitting women upto the tomb would be “anti-Islam” and also argued about immunity as it was a “minority trust”. After campaign for entry of women in Shani Shingnapur and Trimbakeshwar temples in Maharashtra, Desai had taken her movement for gender equality to the famous Dargah in Mumbai.
She was stopped short of going into the shrine on April 28 by protestors. Desai was instrumental in breaking the 400-year-old tradition of not letting women enter the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur Temple and has been vocal about the Haji Ali demand.