Mumbai police has tightened security ahead of Eid-e-Milad, to be observed Sunday, a day after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid suit. On Saturday, no law and order disruptions were reported in Mumbai, even as Section 144 of the CrPC, which bars assembly of more than four people, was imposed in the city.
A strong bandobast, police said, has been planned for the 100-year-old Eid-e-Milad juloos (or procession) that will start from Khilafat House in Byculla and move up to Haj House near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). The event will also commemorate centenary year of the Khilafat movement.
“We will provide strong bandobast for the Khilafat House Eid-e-Milad procession. We ensured that there were no law and order problems in the city Saturday and the same will be the case on Sunday,” Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Barve said. Police will use drones and CCTV cameras to keep an eye on the processions.
Acting chairman of All India Khilafat Committee, Sarfaraz Arzu said, “In light of the (Ayodhya) judgment, we had identified certain spots along the (procession) route that we felt needed more police protection. Earlier, bandobast was made only for people coming to attend the juloos. Now, we have sought protection for those returning from the juloos in vehicles. We apprised the police commissioner about the same. He told us that he shares our concern and special efforts will be made during bandobast.”
Arzu said this year the juloos, of around 1,000 vehicles, would also see some digitized record of the Khilafat movement, like minutes of a meeting leading to the movement which was attended by Gandhi ji. The meet was discussions on matters pertaining to the historic Swadeshi and Khilafat movement.
Arzu added in keeping with tradition, this year former MLA Swami Agnivesh would address the people at Khilafat House before the juloos, of around 1,000 vehicles, commenced. “We have always sought the integration of various communities, and hence, we call a non-Muslim as the guest to deliver a speech. Earlier, we have had dignitaries, like former PM Rajiv Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, as chief guests,” he said.
Highlighting that a number of processions were organised across the city on Eid-e-Milad, former minorities affairs minister and Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan said, “I am sure the police are reviewing the security requirements across the city where such processions are taken out. However, I don’t foresee any law and order problem as the city has accepted the Supreme Court verdict.”
In Jogeshwari, social activist Nitin Kubal said the Muslim community has decided to allocate a few Hindu volunteers, who would walk alongside the procession Sunday. “This would be to ensure that nobody harms the procession or shouts slogan in aftermath of Ayodhya verdict,” Kubal said.
Shahnawaz Shaikh, who lives close to Radhabai chawl, where six Hindus allegedly charred to death in 1993 riots, said police have been deputed in every street to ensure peaceful celebrations. “Nothing unusual happened today. We are confident that tomorrow (Sunday) there would be no issue as well,” he said, adding that even Muslims are subdued after the judgment. People in nearby areas have also refrained from lighting or decorating their rooms to celebrate Eid-e-Milad.
— With inputs from Tabassum Barnagarwala