Christians conduct rally for Burial Rights in India
Over 4,000 Christians from the Western suburbs converged at Kandivali in Mumbai, India on Sunday evening to convince local authorities to expedite the release of land, reserved for a burial ground in Kandivli. Shree Sanjay Nirupam, Member of Parliament, Mumbai North joined the crowd and assured them that the issue would be resolved soon. The crowd made repeated requests seeking Nirupam's intervention in getting a meeting with the chief minister to express their grievances.
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According to Shirley Singh, Trustee, United Christian Community Centre (UCCC), there is not a single burial ground in the 20-km stretch from Dahisar to Khar (East). "Over a lakh Christians residing along the Western Express Highway face hardships burying their dead, as there is not a single burial ground for the community," Singh said.
UCCC said that the burial space was allotted in 1997 and subsequently encroached upon. When they demanded clearance of these encroachments in 2008, BMC identified an alternate plot adjacent to it but they have not received it yet. Francis Dias, vice president of UCCC, says, "Leave aside the poor, even the middle class cannot afford to spend on long distance travel for burial needs in normal weather. On hot and rainy days it could be worse for them."