Jan 19, 2014, 9:39 AM
News Code: 81001382
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Eighteen people killed in a stampede in India’s Mumbai city

New Delhi, Jan 19, IRNA -- Eighteen people were killed, most of them due to suffocation, and 40 injured in a stampede in Mumbai city of Maharashtra state, Saturday.

The mishap took place when thousands of people gathered to pay last respects to the spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community in Malabar Hill area in Mumbai city in the wee hours today.

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, pti reported quoting civic officials as 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, the 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, President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Union Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde condoled the demise of Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin and also expressed profound grief over death of 18 people in a stampede.

Dawoodi Bohra is a sect of Shi'a 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, the leader was the eldest son of Syedna Taher Saifuddin. He succeeded his father upon his death in 1965.

He was credited with transforming Dawoodi Bohras into a vibrant community and 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 Honorary Doctorates for his efforts in social and educational development by renowned institutes like Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Aligarh Muslim University and University of Karachi.