Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the spiritual head of Dawoodi Bohra community had recently preached to its members that toilet seats in their bathrooms be changed from Western to Indian. Following this, messages have gone viral among the members of the community that the Saifee Hospital, which is owned by Aqa Maula and Kothar, itself has not walked the talk.”They should also practice what they preach. They have asked us to implement but they are not doing the same,” said a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community requesting anonymity, fearing that they might be boycotted.”The ‘toilet brigade’ comes in groups of four to five and bullies us. They ask if we have changed or not. If people do not allow them to inspect, we get calls later in which we are told that saying “no” to them is like “saying no to Syedna,” said a community member who had four people visiting his home. They took down details of each family member and their occupation.Another video message shows Syedna’s men breaking Western toilets with a hammer. “They are religious leaders and should stick to religious values and not interfere in our personal lives,” said another community member.A spokesperson from Dawoodi Bohra community said, “Using western toilets is alien to our culture. Additionally, it is an accepted fact that using Indian toilets has certain proven medical benefits and advantages over using Western toilets. It is all part of the much wider ongoing upliftment and awareness drive. The volunteers visiting houses for the Upliftment programme are facilitating families that want to shift from western to Indian style toilets. No one is forced to change, let alone a person who needs to use a Western toilet due to any medical condition. Also, the services of Saifee Hospital reach out to all members of society, hence the question of changing to Indian style toilet does not arise.”
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