Laying the dead to rest has been a mounting concern for both Muslims and Christians in Delhi.
Delhi Minorities Commission chairperson Qamar Ahmad says the panel has received petitions urging it to look into the need for more space for burial in the national capital. Ahmad adds there is a serious concern about a Muslim burial ground at Inderlok and there is also a representation about a Christian cemetery at Aya Nagar.
Ahmad says after the Sarai Khaleel area was demolished in 1976, many Muslim families were relocated to Inderlok. The residents were promised various facilities including a burial ground which they are still waiting for, he adds. “Wherever there are resettlement colonies, residents have demanded burial grounds in their vicinity. If not in their immediate vicinity, somewhere close to their colonies.”
He says that the commission, an advisory body, has been trying to allay the concerns of people by interacting with the government departments concerned. Regarding the Christian cemetery at Aya Nagar, he says, land has been allotted but it has not been handed over for use.
According to government sources, allotment of land is made by the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporations also play a role in maintaining burial grounds. However, in places such as Inderlok and Aya Nagar, various government agencies play a role in determining allotment of land, ensuring there is no dispute over the land and it is not encroached upon.
In some case, sources say, a part of the land may be privately owned for which the owner expects compensation. Resolving these issues is time consuming, add the sources.
Amanatullah Khan, the AAP MLA from Okhla, says paucity of land is a problem in his constituency. “I have written to the Delhi Urban Development Agency (Southeast) that there is a requirement of land for a Qabrastan (burial ground),” says Khan.