The peace, associated with the holy month of Ramzaan and Badi raat, a night of forgiveness, which was observed on Friday by the Muslim community, took a violent turn in Goregaon East when two sects clashed. They pelted stones at each other and brought the traffic to a halt on the Western Express Highway for over two hours.
The Goregaon Kabristan where the two sects clashed against each other. Pic/ Shailesh Bhatia
The atmosphere became volatile at around 3 pm when a deceased Sunni sect member was brought in for burial at the Goregaon Kabristan. Soon after the burial ritual, sect members of The Sunni Muslim Kabristan Trust started decorating the cemetery with flags and flowers, in preparation of Badi Raat, also known as Shab-e-Qadr, which is observed with night-long prayers.
“There is another Muslim sect, known as the Tabliks, who reside in an adjoining area called Pathan wadi and belong to the Arey Education Welfare Trust. They objected and started removing the flags and other decorations. This led to a minor squabble with our sect members,” alleged Firoz Idrishi, the Kabristan trust secretary.
Idris further alleged that at around 8 pm, hundreds of members of the education trust, forcefully entered their locality and soon the situation went out of control and a mob of over 500 gathered and started pelting stones at each other.
The situation was brought under control, when a large unit of Vanrai Police station and Reserve Police, resorted to lathi charge.
A senior member of Arey Education Welfare Trust alleged that the Muslim Graveyard was the last resting site of the deceased and its sanctity is defiled when people insist on decorating it. “It’s our belief that the burial ceremony has to be kept simple.
Any thing done otherwise disrupts the tranquility of the place,” he said. Senior Police Inspector Motiram Babu Kadam, Vanrai police station said that they had taken cross complaints of both sects and filed FIRs. “We made over 23 arrests and detained over 20 vehicles. Our action was aimed at maintaining the law and order in the area,” he said. Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajendra Kadam said that the situation was brought under control using minimum force. “Almost 50 people sustained injuries but none of them were grievously injured,” he said.
The Police have now instructed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take control of the burial ground and restrict entry of both sect members, for anything other than performing the last rites of the deceased.