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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Haji Ali curbs women's entry, activists protest

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 06, 2012
First Published: 10:05 IST(6/11/2012) | Last Updated: 23:27 IST(6/11/2012)

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a women's group, plans to write to the state authorities over the restricted entry to women at dargahs in the city.

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A group of women from the organisation had visited the Haji Ali shrine in August. The ban over the entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum triggered their survey. Of the 20 city dargahs visited in September, seven did not allow women near the grave.

"When we asked with the trustees, we were told that the decision was taken after the authorities noticed that a woman came inappropriately dressed last year," said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder, BMMA.

The dargah trustees said that the decision at the Haji Ali dargah was taken almost seven years ago.

"Eventually, this will be done in every dargah, as the Sharia law claims that no woman can visit a cemetery or a grave," said Suhail Khandwani, trustee of the Haji Ali dargah and managing trustee of Mahim's Makhdoom Shah Baba's Dargah, where religious leaders have been educating women visitors about the law.

"We will write to minorities minister Arif Naseem Khan, the state minorities commission and the trustees of Haji Ali. They need to take steps to curb such a regressive trend," said Niaz.

"Managements can't run dargahs according to their whims and fancies," said Hasina Khan, Awaaz-e-Nizwaan, an NGO.

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