Delhi graveyard managers pray there is no third Covid wave as they make alternative arrangements

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New Delhi, Jun 30 (PTI) Having seen 'the worst” in their lives during the second Covid wave, graveyard managers in Delhi are praying there is no third round but say they are also looking for alternatives if there is one.

The second wave of COVID-19 claimed scores of lives in the national capital, triggering an unprecedented rush at graveyards and crematoriums.

'We saw the worst in our lives in the past two months and attended to up to 25-28 bodies a day on several occasions. I pray to the god to stop the third wave,' said Qayamuddin, a managing committee member of the Agle Islam graveyard at Delhi Gate.

The sprawling facility stared at the prospect of running out of space for burials during the second wave itself, said Mashqoor Rashid, another member of the managing committee.

Rashid claimed that more than 1,500 bodies, mostly of COVID-19 victims, were buried there in the last two months.

'What can we do other than praying that there is no third wave. We can accommodate burial of 250-300 bodies on the space that we have now created,' Rashid said.

According to a Delhi Minorities Commission report, there are 131 graveyards in the city. However, burial of people dying due to COVID-19 was allowed at only four of them at Delhi Gate, Shastri Park, Tahirpur and Mongolpuri.

Chairman of Delhi Waqf Board and Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan said that a plot has been identified near Millennium Park in southeast Delhi for use for burials, if needed.

Qayamuddin said the four-acre plot near Millennium Park was not used for burials earlier due to opposition from locals.

'This land was given to us for burials in 1964. It will be used if the pressure on other graveyards mounts in case of a third wave,' he said.

Abdul Sattar, a social worker in Shastri Park, said graveyards in the city were rapidly running out of space as the number of Covid deaths spiked during the second wave.

The graveyard at Shastri Park which mainly caters to residents of the trans-Yamuna region of Delhi has hardly any space now after the rush witnessed during the second wave, Sattar said.

He said they had written to various authorities, including the prime minister, the Delhi government, the civic body and the Delhi Development Authority, for increasing the size of the graveyard, but nothing has been done so far. PTI VIT SMN SMN

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