Mumbai: In a big victory in the fight to ensure gender equality, a group of women on Tuesday entered the sanctum sanctorum of Mumbai's famous Haji Ali dargah after five years.
A group of 75-80 women led by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) co-founder Noorjehan S Niaz entered the dargah, located on the rocks off Worli in the Arabian Sea, at around 3 pm.
The women offered floral tributes, `chadars` and prayed for peace at the Dargah.
Till June 2012, women were allowed entry up to the sanctum sanctorum comprising the grave (mazaar) of revered Muslim saint, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, but suddenly it was stopped by the Dargah's trustees.
In 2014, the BMMA and others challenged the move of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust in the courts.
On August 26, Justice VM 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 inside till the sanctum sanctorum.
The Trust authorities then sought four weeks time to make certain infrastructural changes and alterations to accommodate the women devotees.
The Dargah authorities have created separate entries to the shrine for men and women and imposed restrictions to prevent anyone from touching 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.