Cremate victims of Covid-19: Church to the priests

MUMBAI: The Archdiocese of Bombay has asked its priests to follow the instructions of the city commissioner and the victims of Covid-19 instead of burying them. In a video message to priests, Cardinal Oswald Gracias suggested in view of extraordinary circumstances that they would respect the call of the municipal commissioner and cremate any new coronavirus victims, Father Nigel Barrett, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Bombay, reported to TOI.

Earlier this week, City Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi had issued a directive under the Epidemic Act of 1897, declaring that all Covid-19 victims would be cremated and, if a family insisted on a burial, it would have to be done outside the city.

However, the circular was withdrawn immediately after Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik objected. An amended circular issued a few hours later said burial would be allowed if the cemeteries were large enough not to create the possibility of the virus spreading in neighboring areas.

Father Barrett said that, in light of the amended circular, a family would be granted a burial if they insisted as long as they followed the WHO guidelines.

Meanwhile, former Congress Minister Naseem Khan, in a letter to the CM, said there was anger in the Muslim community over a Covid-19 victim who could not be buried in Malwani on Wednesday. He said the government should allocate a share in all kabrastans across the state for victims of the pandemic.