Reopen Bandra cemetery for burial of Covid victims: HC to BMCUpdated: Apr 27, 2020 23:35 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to remove the locks on the gates of Navpada Kokani Muslim Kabrastan at Bandra (West), and make the cemetery, which was closed by locals opposing burial of bodies of Covid-19 patients at the ground, available for burial.
Justice BP Colabawalla on Monday refused to interfere with the April 9 order of BMC that identified the private Muslim burial ground as one of the sites for burial of Covid-19 patients. Four local residents had filed a petition challenging the civic order.
The directive came after advocate Pratap Nimbalkar, representing Navpada Masjid and Santacruz Golibar Dargah Trust which manages the cemetery, pointed out some local residents had put up locks on the gate of the cemetery.
Nimbalkar pointed out that on April 13 some locals created a ruckus over the civic body’s order when a body of a 63-year-old person, who died due to Covid-19 infection, was brought for burial at the ground. Some police officers tried to intervene, but failed to pacify locals, and eventually the body was required to be buried somewhere else.
Nimbalkar added despite the trust had taken all precautions and identified isolated and secluded spots for burial of Covid-19 patients, locals were not allowing burial, and urged the court to direct BMC to reopen the burial ground. Justice Colabawalla accordingly directed the civic body to reopen the cemetery and granted it liberty to take help of local police if necessary.
The four petitioners said there are three interconnected Muslim cemeteries at the site and all of them are at the heart of Bandra (West) and are surrounded by thickly populated residential areas.
The petitioners said BMC had, on March 30, decided to cremate bodies Covid-19 patients at the nearest crematorium irrespective of their religion. “The said decision was taken as the burial grounds in Mumbai are in highly dense localities with high chances of contamination,” said their petition.
They added the April 9 order was in contrary to the March 30 decision and therefore prayed for an order restraining the civic body from burying Covid-19 bodies at the three cemeteries.
Justice Colabawalla, however, refused to interfere with the latest civic order.