Amid reports of several Indians getting stranded in Iraq, a local Bohra Muslim couple, on Sunday, returned safely here after visiting the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in the strife-torn country.
On June 3, when the crisis in Iraq was yet to break out, Mohmmad Ratlamwala (45) and his wife Tasleem left from Mumbai as a part of 80-member group for a pilgrimage. Their itinerary included visit to Moula Ali Hussain’s dargah at Najaf and Imam Hussain’s dargah at Karbala.
They landed in Tehran, and took a bus to Karbala – 1,000 km away from there, Ratlamwala said. The group did not face any difficulties as they were not allowed to travel elsewhere barring Karbala and Najaf.
However, as the reports of turmoil in the country caused by the invasion by ISIL militants came, the couple’s relatives
here got worried. “Our mobile phones were not working, therefore we were unable to contact our relatives in India which made them anxious, especially after the situation turned violent”, he said. Tension was palpable while returning to Iran as fighting was going on in nearby areas, he said.
Many others from Bohra community in Madhya Pradesh were planning to visit Iraq before the holy month of Ramzan
started. “But following the situation there, our religious head Syedana Sahab directed them to cancel the tour”, said Mazhar Hussain Sethjiwala, a spokesperson of the community