Women were finally able to enter the Haji Ali Dargah on Tuesday following a long series of legal battles. A group of 80 women entered the inner sanctum of the dargah at 3 pm in the afternoon on Tuesday. The Haji Ali Dargah is the shrine of the 14th-century saint, Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. The co-convener of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Noorjahan Safia Niaz, along with other members of the group entered the shrine today.
Earlier in June 2012, Noorjahan had been stopped from going into the inner sanctum of the shrine. In 2011, the trustees of the Haji Ali Dargah had agreed to not let women have access to the grave of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. The Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in August 2016 had filed a PIL in the Bombay High court against the blatant discrimination on the grounds of gender. The BMMA had also asked the state to ensure the access of women to the inner sanctum of the shrine.
In August 2016, the High Court had ordered to allow the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the shrine and said that the Dargah had no power to interfere with any person or group’s religious practices. The Dargah trust had then moved to the Supreme Court on October 3 in an attempt to challenge the verdict of the Bombay High court. On October 24, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed with the Bombay High court’s verdict and ordered that women must be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the shrine.