Apart from this, the trustees have also offered Matunga Masjid, Mahim Kabrastan and Rose Bombay School in Kurla to open vaccination centres. The trustees are awaiting reply from the government agencies.
“We have written to the relevant authorities, offering Haji Ali Dargah, Matunga Masjid and Mahim Kabrastan premises to open vaccination centres. If vaccination centres are opened at these places, many locals will be encouraged to get vaccinated,” said Sohail Khandwani, trustee of Haji Ali and managing trustee of Mahim Dargah. He added that the authorities have not responded to the offer till date.
While supporting this offer, some community leaders said that the government should first provide enough vaccines as space for opening vaccination centres is not a problem. “Why only a few dargahs or mosques? We will open all the major mosques and community halls if the government provides enough vaccines. The problem is not lack of space for vaccination. The problem is that the government is not providing sufficient vaccines as many vaccination centres, especially run by the government, are empty as vaccines are not available. The government must arrange for more vaccines,” said Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Executive Council (EC) member and General Secretary, Mumbai Regional Congress Mohammed Asif Farooqui. He added that he would even offer his office in Bandra to open a vaccination centre if the government really needed it.
Mohammed Ahmed Tahir, administrative officer, Haji Ali Dargah, said that shrines like Haji Ali Dargah can be a nice venue for vaccination in the sense that people have faith in them and they would attract more people who are hesitant in getting the jabs. “People believe that nothing wrong can happen at Dargahs because of the blessings of Sufi saints. If vaccination centre is opened here, people can get opportunity to offer their tributes to the Saints too. And we have enough space to maintain social distancing if a vaccination centre is opened here,” he said.