Most suffocated to death in stampede at Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin's funeral

Jan 19, 2014, 09:20 IST | Richa Pinto and Chetna Yerunkar

At least 18 mourners died and 40 were injured after thousands of followers of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin tried to enter his residence to catch a final glimpse of their leader

Tragedy struck twice for the Bohra community in the space of 24 hours when 18 people died and 40 were injured in a stampede in Malabar Hill where thousands of mourners had gathered to pay their last respects to their spiritual leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. The injured were immediately rushed to Saifee Hospital in Charni Road, where 18 people were pronounced dead. The bodies were later shifted to JJ Hospital where a post mortem was done.

Stampede at Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin's funeral
The 102-year-old leader was laid to rest at Raudat Tahera Mausoleum at Bhendi Bazaar. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Among the 18 people who died, two were minors. Senior Police inspector of JJ Marg police station, Shashikant Surve, said they had received 17 bodies so far. “As a huge number of people had gathered to pay their last respect to their spiritual leader, we had kept tight security arrangements. However, it is tough to control so many people. Among the 17 bodies two are that of children,” said Surve.

The injured were treated at the Saifee Hospital while two of them were taken to JJ hospital. Five persons are currently admitted at Saifee Hospital. Five among those who lost their lives were senior citizens. Huzeifa Rangwala, a relative of Yusuf Lokandwala, 50, who died in the stampede, told SUNDAY MiD DAY, “I went searching for my father who hadn’t returned home late on Friday night. He finally came back at 5.30 am.

But my cousin, Yusuf, an auto rickshaw driver, lost his life in the stampede,” said Huzeifa. Meanwhile Murtuza Kurajwala came to claim the body of his 28-year-old relative Hakimuddin. “Hakimuddin has a three-year-old daughter named Zumana. These are trying times for his family,” said Murtuza.

Doctors at the post mortem centre, meanwhile, said that asphyxia could be the cause of death as a large crowd of people had gathered. Most of the community members, who were present at Saifee Mahal, Malabar Hill when the stampede occurred, said that it had become difficult to manage the huge number of crowds.

Faqruddun Tarawala, a community member said, “It was the time of ghusl, a ritual of washing of the whole body, as prescribed by Islamic law to be performed in preparation for prayer and worship of the our religious leader, when the gates of Saifee Mahal were shut for a while. Community members who were denied entry tried to open the gate and it led to utter chaos.”

Names of the deceased
1. Yusuf Lokhandwala, 50
2. Shabbir Yusuf Ali, 60
3. Mohammad Chikikunwala, 58
4. Abbas Bhai Rasulji, 65
5. Mustainis Umratwala, 65
6. Saifuddin Sapatwala,74
7. Hussain Jawadwala, 15
8. Tahir Bootwala, 15
9. Hussain Saifuddin saifee, 23
10. Hakimuddin Kurajwala, 28
11. Amir Katolwala,29
12. Abidali Pota,34
13. Shabbir Sadhiwala, 38
14. Nazmuddin Kapdawala, 38
15. Badruddin Rangoonwala, 46
16. Tahir Thanawala, 49
17. Shabbir Kanba, 47
18. Shabbir Hyderali Katawal, 66

How the day unfolded

>> The island city was shrouded in white on Saturday after thousands from the community took to the streets to pay their last respects to the Syedna. The national flag was put on him and a police salute was given to him at around 9.00 am 
>> Around 10.30 am, the procession reached Teen Batti where traffic had come to a standstill 
>> The procession reached Chowpatty at 11.00 am where people flocked to rooftops of buildings to get a view of the proceedings 
>> Around 1.00 pm the procession reached Saifee Masjid at Bhendi Bazaar’s Bohri area where more than two lakh people had gathered to pay their respect 
>> The prayers and rituals took place at Rautad Tahera mausoleum at Bhendi Bazaar where he was finally laid to rest

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