NAVI MUMBAI: Strict Covid guidelines has literally led to a grave issue for the Vashi-based Muslim graveyard as a result of lack of space for more burials.
Mohammed Siraj, senior member of the Noor-ul Islam Trust which manages the Vashi graveyard, said: “Since the lockdown phases began, we have taken over 140 bodies which were Covid-positive. We were strictly told that these bodies cannot be disturbed for at least five years. Hence, we cannot recycle these burial spots in order to accommodate more bodies in near future. This is a crisis situation, and so we have shutdown our graveyard for lack of space.”
Siraj further added: “We have requested the state and civic authorities to give us another land plot somewhere in the city for this vital purpose. There has not been any feedback from the state so far.”
The executive president of Muslim Ekta Foundation, Mohammed Salim Shaikh, said: “The Vashi graveyard is the most popular in Navi Mumbai. Even the unidentified bodies of homeless cases are brought here for burials. After a year, we have to recycle the burial spots to take in the newly arrived bodies. However, if we cannot touch the Covid-positive bodies for five years, then we have a problem at hand.”
Shaikh also added that normally, a body requires 6 feet by 3 feet space for a burial. However, for Covid-positive bodies, the graveyard management has been told to keep an area of 10 feet by 4 feet per burial.
The NMMC commissioner, Abhijit Bangar, commented: “I am aware of the Vashi graveyard issue, and have asked the civic officials to check if any plot is available in the city DP (development plan) or in the jurisdiction of MIDC or Cidco. We will have to further study this.”
Activist B N Kumar of NatConnect Foundation, said: “Our NGO has also forwardes the problem of Vashi graveyard to the state chief minister’s office as well as the UD department. Hopefully, this grave issue can be resolved soon.”

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