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Muslims struggle for graveyard in Etawah,bury dead at home,on road

In Mulayam's home district,land has not been allotted despite repeated requests.

Written by Faisal Fareed | Chakarnagar |
October 28, 2013 1:33:37 am

The Samajwadi Party (SP) government pats itself on the back for allocating crores of rupees for construction of boundary walls of graveyards across the state. In party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s home district Etawah though,Muslims could do with some graveyard space.

Despite repeated requests,land has not been allotted to them for a graveyard,forcing the community to bury their dead inside their homes — in bedrooms,courtyards,even toilets.

In Takia locality in Chakarnagar village,nearly 35 km from Etawah,where nearly all Muslim residents are landless labourers,there are graves inside every community member’s home. Children play on them even as elders avoid stepping on them as a mark of respect.

Etawah DM P Guru Prasad says they are aware of the problem. “We have identified land in Chandai village which is 2 km away. But they are not accepting it,” he says.

There are three graves inside the one-room house of Sullah Ahmed of Takia. “My mother,a brother and grandfather are buried there,” Ahmed says. Two more graves are located on a three-foot plank outside his room.

What he is most “ashamed” about is that he had to bury his wife on the road outside. “I cannot give her decent life even after death,” Ahmed sighs.

Earlier there were hardly six houses of Muslims in Chakarnagar. As Mukhtiyar Ali points out,“There was open space. But now there are nearly 250 people living here.”

“My children sometimes start crying at night because they know they are sleeping on their mother’s grave,” laments Alam Khan. “We told our problem during elections to political leaders. They promised us land for graveyard,but nothing has materialised.”

Ahmed says they even met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav once.

To get around the problem,people have already shifted to making temporary graves. These can be levelled later.

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