Ahmedabad, April 16: As coronavirus-related deaths are rising in Ahmedabad, burial space is shrinking in cemeteries in the city. In view of the grim development, the Catholic Diocese of Ahmedabad has recommended cremation of those who die due to COVID-19 infection. A similar appeal has been made by religious leaders of the Parsi community. Neither community's religious norms allow cremation in the last rites. COVID-19: Long Queue of Ambulances Seen Outside Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.
Bishop Athanasius Rethna Swamy has issued a pastoral, an intimation of spiritual guidance, suggesting cremation of those who die due to COVID-19. "The present situation poses a challenge to the church in administering the last rites to the departed ones in a dignified manner. There are also issues of dwindling space in our cemeteries," the Bishop wrote. "In circumstances when cremation is chosen because of sanitary, economic or social considerations, this choice must never violate the explicitly stated or the reasonably inferable wishes of the deceased faithful," he added. Gujarat Adds Over 8,000 New Coronavirus Cases, 81 Die.
Citing the Vatican’s ‘Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo’ regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation, issued in August 2016, the Bishop stated: "Cremation becomes a preferred option for the Catholics who die of Covid in terms of hygiene and in cognizance of the scarcity of space in some of our cemeteries. The ashes will be preserved in the niches of the cemetery with full dignity in the presence of a priest who makes sure that it is done according to the church burial ritual."
Parsi Ervad (priest) Dr Khushroo Ghadiali of Anjuman Vakil Addran at Khamasa has also recommended cremation of those sccumb to coronavirus. "The cremation option is only for those who are the victims of Covid and not for individuals who die of other causes," he told TOI. Ahmedabad is one of the worst-affected city by the pandemic in Gujarat.
Ahmedabad city registered 2,631 new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours. A record 28 persons died due to COVID-19 in Ahmedabad during the same period.