Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai: Dawoodi Bohra spiritual head Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, who passed away on Friday morning, was laid to rest in a mausoleum on Saturday with full state honours.
Syedna was buried besides his father in the renowned Raudat Tahera in Bhendi Bazaar which is a community-dominated area of South Mumbai. At least 70,000 mourners attended the funeral of their spiritual leader.
At least 18 people were killed and over 50 others were injured in a stampede that broke out early Saturday near the Malabar Hill residence of Syedna, officials said.
The incident occurred at around 1:30 am as thousands of community mourners converged near Saifee Mahal, where the Syedna`s body was kept for people to pay their last respects.
According to Mumbai Police Chief Dr Satyapal Singh, out of 59 people who were injured in the stampede, 56 have been discharged and remaining three are still in hospital.
Admitting lapse, Singh said that 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.
At 10 am, the funeral procession of Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin began from his Malabar Hill residence here amid tight security arrangements.
He is to be buried beside his father at Raudat Tahera Mausoleum in Bhendi Bazar, south Mumbai.
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin led the Namaz-e-Janaza of the late Syedna.
As scores kept joining the procession every minute, to get a last glimpse of the spiritual head while it proceeded through Walkeshwar Road in South Mumbai, the route was closed for traffic to allow easy passage.
Thousands of people from all walks of life joined hands to form a human chain across the road and bid a tearful adieu to the departed leader, who passed away after a cardiac arrest here yesterday.
The body of the departed leader was placed in a flower-adorned casket draped with the national flag atop a open vehicle, escorted by policemen, immediate family and community heads.
Dawoodi Bohra is a sect of Shia Muslims spread all over the world. One of the key principles of the sect is "patriotism as part of the faith."
The 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra community was 102. The Syedna was to celebrate his 103rd birthday in a few weeks, a spokesperson of the Bohra community said.
The end came at Saifee Mahal, his residence in Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, his media associate Shaikh Qureish Raghib said on Friday.
He is succeeded by his second son, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had proclaimed Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor at a Nass (investiture) in London in 2011.
The new Syedna has worked closely with his father and received spiritual guidance from him.
Born in Surat, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had succeeded his father, the late Syedna Taher Saifuddin in 1965 and led the community for nearly five decades. He was credited with transforming Dawoodi Bohras into a vibrant community.
Bohras thronged to the Syednas sermons.
He was honoured with highest civilian titles like the Star of Jordan and Order of the Nile by the respective governments of Jordan and Egypt.
Syedna was conferred Honourary Doctorates for his efforts in social and educational development by renowned institutes like Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Aligarh Muslim University and University of Karachi.
(With Agency inputs)