NAGPUR: Ending the 21-day controversy surrounding Hazrat Baba Mustafa, the city police exhumed the godman’s body from the Mohammed Ali Sarai as per the Supreme Court order before shifting it to premises of the Bada Tajbagh on Wednesday under tight security. Police also scored several brownie points ensuring that their process was guided by religious preachers and done in presence of the godman’s kin. The rain-drenched day had some tense moments as city police reimposed curfew in Mominpura locality before they deployed their strength to execute the apex court’s order.
The Godman had died shortly after the midnight of June 28. His bodywas buried in Mominpura in the Mohammed Ali Sarai, managed by the Central Tanzim committee in the early hours of the following day.
Later, a riot-like situation erupted after the Ahle Sunnat clashed with the group who opposed the burial in the sarai .
Police had to impose curfew apart from firing tear gas shells and use force to disperse the mob. The curfew was lifted on July 13. In the meantime, the Badi Masjid Trust and others filed a litigation against the burial, demanding exhuming of the body. The Baba’s followers had approached the apex court, seeking a stay on the order of the High Court.
The body was taken to its final resting place as a convoy of almost two dozen vehicles escorted the hearse van in which the last remains of the godman was shifted. The 10km journey between the sarai and Tajbagh was a highly secure affair with traffic diversions and strong police protection all along the road. The convoy had a police piloting vehicle followed by several police jeeps, teams of the special branch, state anti-Terrorist squad, NMC ambulances, fire tenders, a minibus carrying the Quick Response Teams (QRT), traffic vehicles and vehicles carrying senior officers. The entire process and the convoy was videographed and images were captured for records for future reference.
City police chief Ankush Dhanvijay said the shifting was well-planned and chalked out with the involvement of other agencies too. “We ensured that a handful of religious preachers from the same sect as that of the Baba were present for guiding the process with pious methods,” said Dhanvijay. He added, “Even the grave diggers were from the same sect and we had also called in the relatives of the godman to be present with us during the exhuming and later burial. We buried the body at a spacious place where other such revered souls are also resting. At the time of the burial, the Shahi Imam of Tajbagh was also present with his team of maulvis.”
Dhanvijay and municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal, along with NMC deputy commissioner Rizwan Siddiqui, had already reached the place shortly after the apex court delivered its verdict. A strong police force was deployed in the locality. City police’s special branch team too was ready with Baba’s relatives, the maulavis and the required tools and religious material required for the burial.
Police had already made their intention clear by retaining curfew and continuing arrests and preventive actions for around a fortnight after the riot broke out in the Muslim dominated Mominpura towards the end of June.
“We are keeping a close watch on the post-burial developments. Our curfew shall continue until the next security review satisfies us that normalcy has returned in true sense. We don’t mind extending the curfew to other places and so there is a warning against any kind of mischief mongering which would be also a sort of contempt of court,” said Dhanvijay.