Congress seeks special burial spots for Covid-19 victims

Mumbai, April 2 (IANS) Senior Congress leader and ex-minister Naseem Khan on Thursday demanded the government allot special burial spots in existing cemeteries or elsewhere for the burial of Muslim Covid-19 victims.

In a memorandum to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Khan pointed out that despite the Covid-19 scourge, the Muslim victims need to be buried as per their religious tenets.

He said that even the World Health Organisation guidelines permit the bodies to be buried with certain precautions, but despite these certain groups did not permit the burial of a Muslim Covid-19 victim in Malad on Wednesday.

“Under these circumstances, the government must earmark a special spot in existing Muslim cemeteries to be used only burial of Covid-19 victims, or allot special burial grounds for people in eastern and western suburbs exclusively for the last rites of those who succumb to coronavirus,” Khan told IANS.

He said that a similar policy must be adopted across Maharashtra which can ensure safety of the entire population and yet ensure that sentiments of the Muslims are not hurt.

Khan’s communication came after Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi decreed that irrespective of religion, all Covid-19 victims must be cremated to ensure that the coronavirus doesn’t pose any threats to the local population.

But those who wanted to bury could do so outside Mumbai, leading to a furore among some quarters, prompting Pardeshi to modify the order by allowing burials in Mumbai subject to stringent protocols.

Till April 2 amid the nationwide lockdown, Maharashtra notched 19 deaths and a staggering 416 Covid-19 positive cases — the highest in the country.