With no graveyard for the Christian community in the district, a family remained clueless for hours about the burial site for their 25-year-old daughter, who died here on Sunday morning.
The deceased’s family informed the local pastor about her death and the pastor contacted the district administration to arrange a burial site. But, the district didn’t have a burial ground for the community and the issue has not been resolved despite repeated assurances from the state government.
The district administration kept hunting for a burial ground and, later in the evening, the family was asked to bury their daughter in a graveyard at Gobindpura village, situated around 60 km from Mansa. The sarpanch of Gobindpura village Gurlal Singh said that villagers often refuse to allow the burial of people from other communities. “I was asked by the tehsildar to arrange the burial in my village. Normally, the villagers oppose the burial of bodies from other community,” said Gurlal.
The community members expressed disappointment after visiting the burial site. “The grave was dug by the people who are not even aware of our rituals. Moreover, we have been told that this is a graveyard for Muslims. The state government has totally failed us,” said Samuel.
However, the family agreed to bury the body at last. As per the 2011 census, the total population of Christians in Mansa is 917. However, the local pastors claim it be much higher and around 15,000.
In 2015, the National Commission for Minorities had released a report on the scanty availability of the land for graveyards in the district.
The report had mentioned that the community has only one graveyard in Bathinda district for people from Bathinda, Mansa and Barnala. DC Varinder Kumar Sharma said that a plot of land has been marked for the graveyard and a resolution passed by the Budhlada local body is pending for approval from the department of local bodies.
“The resolution, which was sent around six months ago awaits approval from the department of local bodies.”