‘Running Out Of Land’, Says Imam At Delhi’s COVID-19 Qabristan
We had to return bodies after burying 15 COVID-19 bodies in a day, said Imam of Delhi’s graveyard.
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
A three acre graveyard for Muslim COVID-19 patients located in Central Delhi, near the Income Tax Office (ITO), is over 75% full.
This has become a matter of concern for the Qabristan Committee, as this graveyard can now accommodate only around 100 more bodies. With 10-12 burials taking place daily, this graveyard will be full in a week.
“We do not have space to expand this graveyard further. It is the responsibility of the Delhi government to provide us more space/land to bury COVID bodies. We have written to Delhi government several times.”Shami Mohammed Khan, Member, Qabristan Committee.
Shami Mohammed Khan has not received any response from Delhi government so far.
Shameem, who manages this graveyard, confirmed that 10-12 COVID-19 bodies are brought there everyday. While bodies are coming from government and private hospitals, Shameem added that the maximum number of bodies come from four government hospitals - Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital (LNJP), Safdarjung hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and AIIMS hospital.
‘Had To Return Bodies After Burying 15 In a Day’
The families of the departed are permitted just a few brief prayers at the graveyard before the burial. Wasim, the Imam at the graveyard, told The Quint that he often has no option but to skip some rituals. For their own safety, family members are not even allowed to touch the body if they are not wearing protective gear.
We face difficulty in making people maintain social distancing because there is no police here who can enforce it. We have to explain to people. Secondly, we do not have enough PPE kits. We are not getting them from the government or hospitals.Shameem, Graveyard Manager
There was a day when we had to bury 15 bodies. That day we had to refuse to bury any more. We told the hospital to send bodies only the next day. It is also very hot here, so we could not have done any more.Wasim, Imam
Delhi’s heat, no space to rest, no food arrangements - all this is making things even more difficult for the Imam and the graveyard manager.
The heat creates more problems. We cannot rest after completing a burial, as there is no facility here. We can’t go to the office or home, we just sit here in the heat, under the tree, and wait for bodies to come. We have asked for a shade here. Two and a half months have passed, nothing has been done, and we don’t expect anything to happen in future.Shameem, Graveyard Manager
Wasim and Shameem are tested for COVID-19 once every month. Their only prayer is that the number of those dying due to COVID-19 does start going down at some point soon.
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