Minorities lack space for burials

Written by | November 23, 2014 | 0

Hyderabad: No vacancy. That is what some graveyards are telling families of those looking to bury their dead.

The lack of space in the graveyards is forcing Muslims and Christians to pay premium prices or to move to the outskirts of the city to bury their dead.

Muslims are more hard hit. Families need to take identity proof and recommendations from mosque committees to get space in the local graveyards; the dead must be locals.

“We stay at Shivarampally and there is no graveyard for 3-4 km. When we approach the nearest graveyard, we are told we are not locals,” said Khaja Ali Babar.

“If we are given space in a nearby graveyard, we have to pay at least three times more than what locals pay. We have got no choice,” he added.

Though there is a custom among Muslims to re-use a grave after several decades, it is not practiced commonly in India.

There is such demand for space in graveyards that a scam was alleged with regards to mutawallis (caretakers) charging lakhs of rupees to provide space for burials.

While this is so, graveyards are encroached upon. “Graveyards are victims of land sharks,” says MBT leader Amjedullah Khan. He says the Wakf Board has failed to protect graveyards. He wants the government to allot Wakf lands on the city outskirts for graveyards.

“If a person is taken to a dargah area for burial, they charge Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. In common graveyards, one has pay up to Rs 10,000. How can a poor person pay such rates,” said Syed Tariq Quadri, advocate and general secretary of the Sufi Academy. Mr Quadri, who has petitioned the government several times, points out that Wakf Board rules say that money should not be cha-rged for burials. To all this, Wakf Board special officer M.J. Akbar said, “We have asked for lands, we are waiting for them.”

Christians face a similar problem. “Up to four dead are being buried in the same grave. Government has not helped,” said Dr Anand Paul, additional governor, Christian Rights Central.

Filed in: Hyderabad

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