Shia Muslims across the city on Friday will observe ‘Ashura’, the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and the period of mourning for the Shia community. Across areas such as Dongri, Bandra, Mira Road and Mumbra, sabeel — a tradition to distribute water to the thirsty — come up as soon as the month of Muharram begins with the sighting of the first moon of the new year.
Apart from religious sermons and recitation of nauha (elegies), several processions will be taken out in various parts of the city. In order to ensure that there are no traffic snarls, the Mumbai Police have released a list of traffic diversions for the movement of vehicles in South Mumbai for Muharram processions on Friday.
Beginning 2 pm on Friday, several diversions will be in place for the Ashura procession, which will begin at Zainabia Hall and pass through Bhendi Bazaar, Pydhnoie, Sir JJ Road and culminate at Rehmatabad Cemetery in Mazgaon. North-bound traffic will be diverted to P D’Mello Road via Carnac Bridge, while vehicles heading towards Sir JJ Junction will be diverted to Maulana Azad Road and Duncan Road. Motorists heading towards South Mumbai from Lalbaug flyover will be required to take a right turn at Khada Parsi junction, and drive through Claire Road, Pydhonie and Kalbadevi towards their destination. While east-west movement on the arterial Sofia Zuber Marg will be prohibited, the JJ Flyover will remain open to traffic, the police said.
A senior IPS officer said, “We will have the necessary bandobast in place in several areas that traditionally see large crowds during Muharram.”