Mumbai: Bhumata Brigade president Trupti Desai and a few activists were allowed to pray at the famous Haji Ali Dargah shrine on Thursday amidst tight police security.
Hours later, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslim (AIMIM) leader Haji Rafat Hussain said Desai should now enter a Parsi temple so as to confirm that she is actually fighting for women's rights and not for mere publicity.
Hussain, however, added that the Bhumata Brigade chief will not be able to enter the inner sanctum of the dargah in her lifetime.
"We are happy that Trupti Desai offered prayers at the Haji Ali Dargah. But the way she had on April 28 threatened the entire Muslim community that she would forcefully enter the dargah was not right," Hussain told ANI.
"She entered today with the police. I think she should not have done that and should have entered alone. We would have been much happy if she would have entered just like any other common person," he added.
When asked Desai had earlier said that she would now enter the inner sanctum of the dargah, the AIMIM leader said it was just a publicity stunt.
"She would not be able to enter the majar-e-sharif throughout her life. She was allowed to go where women are allowed to enter. I would also like her to now try and enter a Parsi temple, where only parsis are allowed to go, as that would confirm the people that she is actually fighting for women's rights and not for publicity," he said.
The Bhumata Brigade chief, who has been agitating for women's rights to enter places of worship which are otherwise traditionally considered out of bounds for them, today entered the Haji Ali dargah.
"Today I entered Haji Ali Dargah. I went till the point where women were allowed to go and offered prayers. The police were helpful this time. This is a fight for gender equality," Desai said after offering prayers.
"At Haji Ali Dargah, I prayed that women must be allowed to enter inner sanctum like they did before 2011. We saw where we are allowed till and where men go till inside Dargah," she added.
The Bhumata Brigade chief also said that they would stage a protest if the trustees do not allow women to enter the shrine in the next 15 days.
Thursday's event is the latest in Desai's movement after last month she was denied entry to enter the shrine.
Desai, who had earlier announced that she would enter the dargah on April 28, launched the campaign 'Haji Ali For All' in April to allow women to the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and offer 'chadar' there.
The Haji Ali Dargah does not allow women to enter the inner chamber. Only men are allowed to go inside the Haji Ali Mazar and offer their prayers. This ban came into force in 2011.
(With Agency inputs)