Even five months after the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) expressed concern over inadequate land for graveyards, the Mansa district administration seems to have failed to resolve the issue. At a meeting held to redress grievances of people here on Wednesday by deputy commissioner Isha Kalia, members of the Methodist church expressed concern over the issue. “We met the deputy commissioner and asked her to resolve the issue and offer us some area at a suitable location to construct a graveyard.”
“There is no graveyard available in the entire district and, despite repeated assurances from the chief minister himself, the issue has not been resolved yet,” said pastor Gurtej.
The pastor further added that the bodies have to be taken to the graveyard in Bathinda. “At times, we have tried to bury the bodies in the local cremation ground, but we always have to face stiff opposition from members of the majority community. Last time, we could manage to do it after SDM Budhlada provided us security.”
Deputy commissioner Isha Kalia said that she has asked the subdivisional magistrate of Budhlada to look into the issue and resolve it at the earliest.
A member of the National Minority Commission Ajaib Singh, who had visited the state in July, had sent a detailed report of the commission’s findings on the problems faced by minorities to the chief minister. Singh had met the officials of Bathinda, Mansa and Ludhiana districts on his 3-day tour to Punjab.
The report primarily highlighted the problem of scanty availability of land for graveyards faced by the minority community. The HT had accessed the report which mentioned that the Christian community has only one graveyard in Bathinda district catering to the needs of people from Bathinda, Mansa and Barnala.