Cops and community members both march on the roads to ensure there was no disturbance on the holy night. Pics/Satej Shinde
This year, Mumbai Police and Muslim community leaders marched together to ensure that Shab-e-Baraat, or the night of salvation, was observed in peaceful prayers instead of rash driving by youngsters.
Shab-e-Baraat, is observed as a night of forgiveness and a chance to ask for blessings from Allah. Many people visit the graves of their loved ones to pray for their souls. But, in the past, the night has often been marked by youngsters racing through city highways on their bikes, creating a ruckus.
Top brass out and about
This time, however, cops from police stations across the city had descended on the roads to keep vigil along with the community leaders and keep the peace. Bandobasts and nakabandis were staged at several points in the city, and cops were out from 8 pm on Thursday night to 6 am today.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti was also spotted monitoring several busy junctions across the city throughout the night, particularly near Mahim dargah and Haji Ali, both of which witness massive crowds on this holy night. When mid-day caught up with him at Mahim Causeway, he was stopping motorists who were breaking traffic rules.
Community leaders help
Bharti also spoke to community leaders, who were assisting him in maintaining law and order. "We had meetings with the community leaders and clerics who made announcements during prayers to ask parents to counsel their children against rash driving. They also spread the message on social media," said Bharti.
Suhail Khandwani, the chief trustee of Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs, was on the field as well. "We were in regular touch with the police and co-operated with them in every little thing so that nothing would disturb the city on a night meant for prayers and forgiveness. We also asked people to visit shrines that are near their house, rather than roaming around the city and creating nuisance through rash driving. With the help of police and active members in the community, people understood and supported the cause," he added.
No rickshaws allowed
This year, the police didn't allow auto rickshaws to enter Mahim either, as it creates a nuisance for the movement of traffic. "We have not allowed autos in the city, as they are not supposed to be allowed there at all. Why break the rule for a single night? We caught and fined youngsters who were driving rashly. We also cleared the area near the Mahim dargah to see to it that the night is observed peacefully with prayers and dua, rather then breaking rules on the road," said Bharti, who had ordered the officers to not unnecessarily stop or disturb anyone who was following the rules. "The only aim of the police is to prevent youngsters from unnecessary rash driving, so that no one meets with any harm or mishap," said DCP Dyneshwar Chavan (Zone 2), who was stationed at a nakabandi post near Chowpatty.