Kendrapara, Jan 2 (LocalWire) The 200-year-old Mansooor Baba Dargha in Kendrapadra town still prohibits women from entering its sanctum sanctorum.
There is a notice put up outside the dargah built over the grave of Baba Mansoor clearly stating in Odia that women are not allowed inside.
The ban imposed by committee members violates Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution that say women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.
“Like the ban on women’s entry to Haji Ali dargah has been lifted, it should be the same in case of Mansoor Baba shrine. The ban violates a woman’s right to freedom of religion enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution,” said Kendrapara lawyer Mrutunjaya Samal.
Meanwhile, dargah’s managing committee member Sarafat Ali said: “It is a sin as per Islam for women to be in close proximity of a male Muslim saint’s grave. Hence, this ban. But women have every right to pray outside the shrine.”
“This dargha is a symbol of communal harmony as each day large numbers of Muslims and Hindus offer prayers at the shrine,” he said.
“The managing committee members violated the Article 17 of the Constitution of India by denying the entry of women into the shrine,” said Ranjan Das a human right activist of Kendrapara.
Pertinently, the Supreme Court allowed entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of famous Haji Ali dargha in Mumbai last year.
Three months back, the apex court also lifted century old practice of prohibiting women to enter the Sabarimala in Kerala.