The SC petition seeks a temporary ban on the burial of Covid's bodies; JUH opposes
NEW DELHI: In the event that the bodies of the deceased are allowed to be buried, a petition was requested in the Supreme Court while seeking the temporary prohibition of this custom of the latest Islamic rites, while expressing concern that it could increase the risk of spreading the deadly virus.
Petitioner Pradeep Gandhy appealed in South Carolina against the April 27 order of the Bombay High Court that refuses to grant the provisional suspension of the burial of bodies of Covid patients at the Konkani and Khoja Isna Ashari Jamat Kabrasthan Muslim Cemetery, both in the Bandra West area of Mumbai. He had petitioned the HC for fear that the burial of the bodies of people, who died from Covid-19 infection, would increase the risk of spreading the virus in the areas surrounding the petitioner's residence.
In opposing this request, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind through lawyer Ejaz Maqbool has also moved the SC saying that the burial of corpses is essential to the religion of Islam, as well as in other religions such as Christianity. Such a right is part of the right to practice religion according to article 25 of the Constitution.
Relieving the petitioner's apprehension about the burial of bodies that increases infection, JUH said the fear is completely unfounded and is not backed by warnings issued by the Union government and the World Health Organization regarding cremation and body burial. He said that the Center's notice details the precautions that family members must take, while observing social distancing, while preparing the last rites of the body before cremation or burial.
He cited the WHO guidelines of March 24 on the subject of burial of patient bodies with Covid-19. JUH said the WHO clarified that except in cases of hemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola, Marburg) and cholera, carcasses are generally not infectious. Only the lungs of pandemic influenza patients, if mishandled during an autopsy, can be infectious. Otherwise, corpses do not transmit disease.
JUH said that it is a myth that people who have died of a contagious disease should be cremated. Cremation is a matter of cultural choice and available resources. The WHO has further clarified that to date there is no evidence of people infected due to exposure to the bodies of people who died from Covid-19. The WHO notice said: Family and friends can see the body after preparing it for burial, according to custom. They should not touch or kiss the body and should wash their hands well with soap and water after the visualization; the body in the grave, in the funeral pyre, etc., should wear gloves and wash their hands with soap and water after removing the gloves once the burial is complete.
JUH said: Even the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and the nations of the Middle East are allowing the burial of people who died due to Covid-19 and these nations have not revealed an increased risk of the spread of the Covid virus -19 due to the act of burying the corpses.