The dead fight for their land in Gurgaon
Christians and Muslims are finding it difficult to bury their dead due to lack of space in graveyards, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.delhi Updated: Nov 02, 2008 00:37 IST
“My worry today is where I would be buried after my death as there is no space left at the only cemetery we have in Gurgaon. We cannot set up additional graveyard as the land that was allotted to us by HUDA in 2005 has got into litigation after residents of the area opposed it and got the stay orders on the construction,” exclaimed the 77-year old Lt. Col (Retd.) Ranjit Sen, a resident of Palam Vihar.
“I cannot opt for doubling of burial none of my family has a grave here. However, I have one option still left, which, unfortunately, I cannot exercise again. If we have an electric crematorium, many of us opt to burn the bodies in these crematoriums and bury the ash in the graveyards that take just one square foot area as against 18 sq feet area if the entire body is buried. But we do not have an electrical crematorium in Gurgaon,” said Sen.
Sen is not the only one who is facing this problem in Gurgaon as there are people from the Muslim community also, who have got just one graveyard at Pataudi Chowk in Gurgaon and it has already run out of its capacity.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had allotted about 1.35 acres of land each to the Church of Epiphany (Roman Catholic Christians) and to another organisation of the Protestant Christians, 2.60 acres of land to Haryana Anjuman Charitable Trust for setting up graveyards and 6.10 acres of land to Hindu organisation Urja Samiti for a crematorium in 2005 in Sector 56.
However, the resident bodies of the surrounding apartments approached the court and got stay orders against the HUDA for any construction activity on all three sites.
“We had taken a plea in the court that these three sites were overlooking their apartments and would create pollution after being developed as graveyards and crematoriums. In the original Gurgaon master plan, this land had been shown as green patch that drove us to construct apartments here, but later HUDA converted its use and allotted these sites for graveyards and crematoriums,” said Ashwani Dhanda, a resident of Oasis Cooperative Group Housing Society, Sector 56.
He said, "Six of the group housing societies got together, moved the court against its decision in 2005 and got stay orders.
The government should offer alternate sites for graveyards and crematoriums, which are away from the locality”.
With this the existing graveyards have exausted.
Those Christians, who have their kin already buried in the cemetery here, are resorting to doubling of burials since 2006 – bury the body over the already buried one.
The Muslims meanwhile have been forced to move to Mewat.
“Despite many requests, the HUDA has refused to offer alternate sites to us probably because the land in Gurgaon is of prime value. HUDA officials said that they could not do anything in this matter as it is already pending with the court,” said the affected people.
Mohammad Aslam Khan the chairman of the Haryana Anjuman Charitable Trust said that it was because of this problem that the graveyard was dug at many places so that one could look for a place for burying their dear ones.
HUDA officials said that since the matter related to graveyard sites in Sector 56 was sub-judice in the court of law and the land in question was also a part of it, they would not like to comment on that.
It is only after the court’s decision, the land for graveyard could be handed over to concerned organisations, they said.