At 12.30 pm Saturday, an aerial view of narrow lanes of Bhendi Bazaar would show a wave of white sweeping the streets near Saifee Masjid and Raudat Tahera Mausoleum, where over three lakh Dawoodi Bohras had gathered to pay their last respects to their departed leader, Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin.
Since the mosque was filled to capacity, men offered their afternoon prayers on roads, which was followed by janaze ki namaaz. The community members chanted ya Hussain to mourn the loss of Syedna even as they watched the funeral proceedings being telecast live on screens installed at street corners and inside mosques around Bhendi Bazaar.
Several women climbed on the roofs or sat on parapets to view the final rites of Syedna. “A temporary bridge was constructed between Saifee Masjid and Raudat Tahera so that Syedna’s body could be taken from the mosque after afternoon prayers for final burial in the mausoleum,” said Hatim Rangwala, a member of the community.
The crowd wept inconsolably when the live telecast of his grave, wrapped in a red velvet cloth, was shown.
According to police, crowd started gathering near Raudat Tahera since early morning. The Burhani Guards International and police were seen directing the followers into lanes leading to the mausoleum of the 51st Dai- Syedna Taher Saifuddin, where his son Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin was to be laid to rest.
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Following the stampede at Malabar Hill, the Burhani Guards and police had barricaded the lanes around the mausoleum at Bhendi Bazaar to avoid an uncontrolled overflow of mourners. Ambulances too were kept ready.
Mohammed Changi, corps commander, St John Ambulance Brigade of Saifee Ambulance Corps, said, “Following the stampede, more police and guards were deployed here at Bhendi Bazaar. Around 18 microphones were put here to give instructions to the crowd.”
A few who missed the entire janaza (procession) were in tears. “I came from Bangalore but reached late and could not get a glimpse of Maula,” said 50-year-old Jamila Shamiwala, who travelled with her husband in a bus to reach Mumbai.