Following discussions with the Muslim community about the burial of Covid-19 deceased from the community and the need to earmark cemeteries located outside the residential areas of the city, the district administration has now approached the Christian community in Vadodara to designate a plot on one of the cemeteries located along the Ahmedabad Mumbai national highway, on the outskirts of the city.
Late on Thursday evening, Father Isaac Arackaparambil, Parish Priest of the Don Bosco Roman Catholic Church in Vadodara, issued a letter to the members of the community informing them about the decision taken to designate a plot for possible Covid-19 burials in the future.
Arackaparambil, who is the sole trustee of the Divine Child Seva Kendra, which administers the Christian cemetary, stated, “This comes to inform you that in the context of high risks involved in burying Christians dying of Covid-19 within the city limits of Baroda, Government Authorities approached Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Vadodara to seek an alternative. Accordingly the Chancellor of the Diocese contacted me and informed me that the VMC identified our Christian Cemetery situated near the National Highway for burial of Christians who could possibly die with Covid-19, as it is on the outskirts of the city.”
Subsequently, an official of the Health Department of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation is said to have met Arackaparambil seeking cooperation in designating the burials of the Christian community at the designated cemetery.
Arackaparambil said, “During such a pandemic, it is our duty and obligation to fully cooperate with the government machinery for the burial of our Christian brethren. The said cemetery is specially demarcated for public use for the purpose of burial of the deceased of the Christian community by the District Collector’s order dated 10.10.2002. The VMC order dated 23.05.2003 has allowed for burial purpose for the Christian Community.”
The letter states that any burials from the Christian community arising out of Covid-19 would be performed at a “separate plot in the cemetery which is away from where we do our (regular) burials. “They (VMC) will dig give graves of 15 feet deep with their members and machinery. The whole area will be sanitised by a special team. It is informed to them that no personnel from our side shall be present for safety reasons.Let us hope and pray that none of our brethren fall victim to this pandemic,” the letter further stated.
The VMC will facilitate any Covid-19 burials when needed directly and intimate Arackaparambil about the deaths, the letter states. There are four Christian Cemeteries in Vadodara, of which three are located in the city amid residential areas in Fatehgunj and Nizampura.
Earlier this week, the VMC had also asked the Muslim community to identify three other Cemeteries outside residential areas following protests from residents around the Matariya trust run Qabrastan at Khaswadi, which has seen about 18 Covid-19 burials till date.
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