Trupti Desai enters Haji Ali dargah till ‘where women were allowed’

Activist Trupti Desai stormed into Mumbai’s Haji Ali dargah, one of the key shrines in the country where women’s entry is banned, early on Thursday amid tight security.
Activist Trupti Desai speaks after praying at the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.(Twitter/ANI)
Activist Trupti Desai speaks after praying at the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.(Twitter/ANI)
Updated on May 12, 2016 09:43 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

Trupti Desai, an activist for women’s equality at places of worship, entered the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai amid tight security and offered her prayers early on Thursday.

Desai, founder of the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, prayed at the dargah before leaving under strong security cover, reports said. This event was the latest in Desai’s agitations against instances of patriarchy at places of worship and regulations prohibiting women from entering the core praying areas of certain temples.

“Today I entered Haji Ali dargah. I went till the point where women were allowed to go and offered prayers,” Desai told ANI. “...I prayed that women must be allowed to enter the inner sanctum like they did before 2011.”

Before leaving, Desai asked the shrine authorities to allow women till the point where their male counterparts have access. “We saw till where we are allowed and till where men go inside the dargah. The trustees should allow women inside in 15 days, or else we will protest,” Desai was quoted as saying by ANI.

Read | Haji Ali row: AIMIM leader threatens to smear ink on Trupti Desai

In April, Desai had launched the campaign ‘Haji Ali For All’ to allow women inside the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and offer ‘chadar’. She also sought the support of Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan for her movement.

“That way, I believe their fan following will join and support us in our fight for equality,” she said.

It was Desai’s agitation that opened the gates of the inner sanctum of Maharashtra’s famous Shani Shingnapur temple to women worshippers, who were — until then — allowed to take the idol’s darshan only from a distance.

Last month, the activist also tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur, which reportedly disallows access to women.

Read | Haji Ali row: Desai asks Salman, SRK, Aamir to lend support

On Wednesday, Desai declared that she would meet Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and request him to allow women into the all-male organisation.

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