Cops, community leaders ensure calm in Mumbai during Yakub Memon funeral

Jul 31, 2015, 14:18 IST | Saurabh Vaktania and Sailee Dhayalkar

Hundreds of cops, including Commissioner Rakesh Maria, thousands of visitors who were being instructed to maintain peace, community leaders overseeing proceedings -- this is how Yakub Memon was buried yesterday

An unusual calm and almost unprecedented peace had descended upon Mahim and Marine Lines yesterday, the day when ’93 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon was buried after being hanged to death in Nagpur Central Jail.

Curious onlookers both in Mahim. Pics/Shadab Khan and Bipin Kokate
Curious onlookers in Mahim. Pics/Shadab Khan and Bipin Kokate

With heavy police protection and senior leaders from the Muslim community taking all precautions to ensure things didn’t get out of hand, the city seemed to have let out a huge sigh of relief.

As well as near Bada Qabrastan
The scene near Bada Qabrastan

Memon was hanged in the Nagpur Central Jail in the morning yesterday and since then, local residents in Mahim had been waiting for his body near Al Hussain building, situated near the Mahim dargah. An eerie calm had descended over Mahim, with shops closed and the crowd milling about quietly.

Police commissioner Rakesh Maria taking stock of security arrangements near Mahim Dargah yesterday. Pic/PTI
Police commissioner Rakesh Maria taking stock of security arrangements near Mahim Dargah yesterday. Pic/PTI

At 1.09 pm, Memon’s body reached the road near Al Hussain, the Memon residence, but it was not taken there; instead, the body was taken to Bismillah Manzil, where the sister of his wife Raheen stays. As the body arrived, the crowd began to swell.

Memon’s family members requested the people to maintain peace and let the final rites be conducted. Thousands had gathered to meet the family, who, along with the visitors, performed the Namaz-e-Janaza (final prayers) at 3.40 pm.

A person had been designated to announce on a loudspeaker that the body would be taken to Bada Qabrastan in Marine Lines at 4.30 pm, where people could get a last glimpse of Memon. The announcer also helped in crowd control. The body was then kept inside an ambulance and taken to Bada Qabrastan.

At the cemetery
After it had been announced that Memon would be buried in the Marine Lines cemetery, preparations had been done early in the morning yesterday. Several locals had reached the spot, and senior leaders from the Muslim community also convened to take stock of the situation.

They had already met the senior cops earlier in an effort to ensure peace during the funeral. Burial spot number 20 in the H block was allocated for the body. The grave, even before it became one, saw scores of visitors.

Heavy police cover descended on Marine Lines and cops were stationed at regular intervals. Senior IPS officers were seen patrolling the area, along with deputy commissioners of police, additional commissioners of police and joint commissioners of police.

Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria was present during the entire event. At 4.20 pm, the body was brought to Bada Qabrastan, watched closely by the cops. The visitor count had run into thousands they had come in cars, two-wheelers and on foot. Metal detectors were installed and cops guarded the various entrances to the cemetery.

There was a hint of agitation after the prayers were said in the cemetery mosque, when some teenagers began sloganeering. Senior community leaders swung into action and swiftly put an end to it. Loudspeaker announcements implored people to only pray and partake in no demonstrations.

People had been told to strictly not take pictures or videos; a few tried, but were stopped immediately. Memon was finally buried at around 5.15 pm. When mid-day spoke to a member of the procession, he said it was much ado about nothing. “There was no need for such heavy security.

The message in the community was clear: keep the peace. Nobody would’ve done anything wrong. It was portrayed as if people would do something untoward, thereby justifying the need for such police cover. Nothing of that sort would’ve ever happened.”

Out of sight
Sources told mid-day that the police had intimated residents of buildings that have a clear view of the cemetery to not allow a single stranger inside the building.

A resident of Zarar Mansion said, “People have been coming to me since morning, requesting to see the burial spot from our premises. Policemen are guarding our building and have asked us to not entertain anybody.”

- Inputs by Sadaguru Pandit

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