Devotees gathering at the Haji Ali Dargah on Tuesday and Wednesday crossed 10 lakh, which usually is around two to three lakh every year during Eid al-Fitr and Basi Eid before the pandemic. The rush has been attributed to the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Suhail Khandwani, Managing trustee of Mahim Dargah and Haji Ali dargah, said, “This year we were taken aback with the huge response of the crowd, it crossed nearly a million counting both days because of the 2-year gap due to lockdown.”
He said that on Eid it crossed around 4-4.5 lakh and on the second day it crossed over 6 lakhs.
“Normally during the second day of Eid we expect around 2-2.5 lakh people but this year it was 4-5 times more. People started coming in right from 3 am and as soon as the morning prayers were over, there was a lot of crowd from around 4.30 am to 7.30 am, we even had to close the gates for some time to control the crowd,” added Khandwani.
Mohd Ahmed Taher, Administrative Officer at the Haji Ali Dargah Trust, said that they were prepared as people were in their homes for the last two years during Eid and they were the first ones to close the place of worship on 18 March 2020 in light of the safety of the people during the first Covid wave.
“The volunteers and the management team did a great job at handling the crowd. The DCP of zone 3, Paramjit Singh Dahiya, ACP of Tardeo Division, Sanjay Kurundkar and Senior P.I, Tardeo Police station Vivek Shende along with other police officers were present for all three days starting Monday to make sure the crowd was controlled and the tide levels are also kept in check, we are very grateful for the police force who supported us immensely,” added Ahmed Taher.
A devotee who visited Haji Ali, Sayed Mohammad Hasan, said “I used to visit Haji Ali every year before the lockdown but couldn’t do it during the pandemic so finally, I got the opportunity to visit the Dargah after two years which was such an amazing experience and the management of the crowd was really good. There was too much crowd this year, more than I have ever seen at Haji Ali but even an elderly person to a small kid, everyone could walk and reach the place of worship systematically and safely.”
Haji Ali crowd controlled by -
1. 150 volunteers
2. 25 Swimmers
3. 55 CCTV Cameras
4. 5 CCTV Camera operators
5. Public announcement system at main road as well as Dargah Compound.
6. First Aid facility at the main road entry as well as Dargah Compound.
8. Police / DCP zone 3 coordination
9. Traffic police coordination
10. Barricades/ ropes