It is a victory for women rights’ activists who were fighting for a long time to life ban on entrance of women in Haji Ali. The Mumbai high court on Friday granted this victory to them by lifting ban on women entering the inner sanctum of one of the country’s most prominent mosques, the Haji Ali Dargah.
Women’s rights’ activists, who are leading a nationwide campaign called “Right to Pray,” hailed the judgment as a major milestone in their agenda not just to end discriminatory practices in places of worship, but the notion that women are not equal to men.
A two-judge bench ruled that the restriction imposed on women in the 15th century Haji Ali Dargah mosque is contrary to the fundamental rights of a person as provided in the constitution and asked the state government to ensure safety for women devotees.
While the bench found the curb unconstitutional, the shrine’s trustees have sought more time from the Mumbai bench as they want to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The shrine’s trust had banned entrance of women in the mausoleum in 2011, saying it was a “grievous sin” in Islam for women to be in close proximity to the grave of a male Muslim saint. Earlier in the year, Bhumata Rangragini Brigade leader Trupti Desai visited the dargah, but she was stopped from entering the premises on April 28. After her visit, she had said the administration should relax their restriction on allowing women inside the inner sanctum.
The Haji Ali mosque was constructed on an inlet where legend says the body of a Sufi saint, Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, washed up on rocks in the Arabian Sea. The Mumbai landmark is visited by tens of thousands of visitors every week.