At least 18 people were killed and over 50 others were injured in a stampede that broke out early Saturday at Saifee Mahal in Malabar Hills, the residence of Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin who passed away on Friday morning, officials said. Several injured have been taken to Saifi hospital.
“There were queues for women and men for deedar (glimpse) of the Maula in Saifee Mahal when all of a sudden the queues got mixed and confusion followed. One of my relatives from Pune passed away in the stampede,” said Qaid Najmi, a member from the community.
More than a lakh people have gathered in the city from all over the world after 102-year-old Syedna expired after a sudden cardiac arrest on Saturday. According to Abid Dewaswala, his family comprising 16 members was about to reach Saifee Mahal late at night before the stampede occurred. They changed their plans fearing there will be a lot of crowd.
According to Mumbai Police Chief Dr Satyapal Singh, out of 59 people who were injured in the stampede, 56 have been discharged and remaining three are still in hospital.
Admitting lapse, Singh said that most of the deaths occurred due to suffocation.
The incident occurred at around 1:30 am as thousands of community mourners converged near Saifee Mahal, where the Syedna's body was kept for people to pay their last respects.
The cause of the sudden stampede is not clear, but officials said at least 17 bodies were taken to Saifee Hospital and one to Cumballa Hill Hospital.
Apprehending an unmanageable situation arising at Malabar Hill which also houses the governor, chief minister, deputy chief minister, home minister, top businessmen, diplomats, the community had appealed to all Dawoodi Bohras to go and pray in mosques in their respective localities.
Born in Surat, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had succeeded his father, the late Syedna Taher Saifuddin in 1965 and led the community for nearly five decades. He was credited with transforming Dawoodi Bohras into a vibrant community.
Bohras thronged to the Syednas sermons. Dawoodi Bohra is a sect of Shia Muslims spread all over the world. One of the key principles of the sect is "patriotism as part of the faith”.
He was honoured with highest civilian titles like the Star of Jordan and Order of the Nile by the respective governments of Jordan and Egypt.
Syedna was conferred Honourary Doctorates for his efforts in social and educational development by renowned institutes like Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Aligarh Muslim University and University of Karachi.