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Haji Ali Dargah should allow females in the inner sanctum, orders Mumbai High Court


MUMBAI: A small group of gutsy women finally tested success after the Bombay High Court on 26 August 2016, allowed women to enter the inner chamber of the Haji Ali Dargah. The High Court reasoned that the ban imposed on the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the Dargah violates the fundamental rights of a person guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to all citizens of the country.

Raju More, the petitioner’s lawyer said that the court had allowed entry of women into the Dargah upholding the Constitution. Feminist and well-known women rights activist, Feroze Mithiborwala stated that it was a victory for the women fraternity as a whole.

Public interest litigation was filed by Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which sought entry for females into the inner corridors of the ancient dargah. However, the decision to permit women entry into the shrine has been decried by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Haji Rafat Hussain who said that it would disturb the environment.

He added that the High Court should not interfere in the religious matter where public sentiments come into play. However, he said that since the issue has been brought under the ambit of the courts, it will be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Talking to ANI, Hussain stated that he does not understand the haste in which the decision was given notwithstanding the fact that the issue of Babri Masjid has not been solved after so many decades. He felt that the matter should have been deliberated cautiously since Islam does not allow woman entry into the cemetery or dargah.

He alleged that since the coming of the right wing BJP government, they are doing things which deeply hurt the feelings of the Muslim community.  How could the court overturn a practice which has been going on for the last 1400 to 1500 years? He added that women are allowed up to a certain limit but beyond it, she looks naked as per Islam.

A two-judge bench of the Mumbai High Court comprising of Justice V M Kanade AMD and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere said, “State to give necessary protection to the respondents.”

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