Mumbai: Days after the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade said it would launch an agitation so that women entry to the famed Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai, the announcement has left a Shiv Sena leader fuming.
Haji Arafat Shaikh, who joined Shiv Sena after leaving Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in 2014, has said that if Bhoomata Ranragini Brigade leader Trupti Desai tries to enter Haji Ali dargah, she would be welcomed with ‘prasad’ of slippers, reports ABP news.
"Islam does not allow women to touch the mazar-e-sharif in a dargah. We strongly condemn what Trupti Desai is saying. We won't allow her to enter the inner sanctum of the Hazi Ali Dargah. I will be the voice of my religion and will not allow her to touch the mazar-e-sharif," Haji Arafat told ANI.
"All Muslim women have been opposing this. This is a conspiracy to disturb the peaceful environment inside Mumbai. A conspiracy is being made to instigate the Muslims by playing caste and religion-based politics. The police and law and order should prevent her from doing that," he added.
The Maharashtra Government had in February supported the entry of women to the Haji Ali Dargah.
On April 20, 'Haji Ali For All' forum was launched by Brigade president Trupti Desai along with several activists, NGOs and social groups to fight for women's entry to the shrine -- nearly six centuries old and nestling amid the rocks in the Arabian Sea off the Worli shoreline.
"We shall launch the agitation at the Haji Ali shrine on April 28. However, we are ready to discuss the issue with its trustees," Desai had told the media.
Desai was in the forefront in pressing the demand for women's entry to the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.
She also called upon all Muslim women in the country to contact her organisation to highlight alleged gender discrimination at other dargah or shrine in India and promised to take up their cause.
She said several Muslim women and other groups were fighting for equality vis-a-vis the Haji Ali dargah for years and had even moved courts seeking relief.
These groups want women to be allowed to go to the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and offer 'chadar' and prayers in the sanctum sanctorum, she said.
The Haji Ali Dargah Trust has justified the prevailing custom on the ground that allowing women up to the tomb of the Pir would be 'anti-Islam'.