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18 die of suffocation during Syedna's last rites, police denies it was stampede

Mumbai:  Eighteen people were killed, most of them due to suffocation, and 40 injured in what was called a stampede when thousands of people gathered to pay last respects to the spiritual leader of the
India TV News Desk January 18, 2014 20:32 IST
India TV News Desk
Mumbai:  Eighteen people were killed, most of them due to suffocation, and 40 injured in what was called a stampede when thousands of people gathered to pay last respects to the spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community in Malabar Hill area here in the wee hours today.

Mumbai Police clarified that the most of the people died due to suffocation and not because of a stampede, as people were suddenly allowed to pay their last respects.

The incident occurred when huge crowds started gathering in the area to pay last respects to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, who died yesterday at the age of 102, civic officials said.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said most of the deaths occurred due to suffocation as the lanes in the area were very narrow and a huge crowd had gathered. 

“People from all parts of Mumbai and around the city came to pay their last respects around 9 last night. The roads were narrow...It led to suffocation. It was difficult for the people to breathe.

“Some people fell unconscious. Gates were closed following which some people fell on each other. As the doctors are claiming, cause of the death was suffocation,” he said. 

After learning of Syedna's death, his followers had started thronging his house, which is in the vicinity of the official residence of the Maharashtra Chief Minister, and soon a stampede broke out.

The injured have been admitted to the Saifee Hospital.  Meanwhile, the funeral procession of Syedna began from his Malabar Hill residence amid tight security arrangements. 

The procession, which moved at a snail pace commenced around 10 AM from Saifee Mahal, where community members converged in huge numbers for the final journey of the leader, who will be laid to rest at Raudat Tahera mausoleum here at Bhendi Bazar later in the day.

Also Read: Know 10 rare facts about Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin