The rising death toll at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in past few weeks due to Covid has cast an unnerving shadow on the campus graveyard.
With at least three dozen serving and retired AMU employees, including teaching and non-teaching staff, having died in the past few weeks due to Covid, old graves are now being dug up to bury the dead.
The AMU campus has seen more deaths in past few weeks than in the entire year. The alarming death toll has sent shock-waves leading to apprehensions that a deadlier ‘AMU strain’ of the virus is wreaking havoc.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also assured all help to Aligarh Muslim University in dealing with the pandemic.
Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor has written to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) so that all aspects can be studied through genome sequencing.
AMU Proctor, Professor Mohammad Waseem Ali, said, “In the past 20 days, we have lost almost 16 members of our faculty, eminent teachers, including the chairman of the medicine department, dean of law faculty and many others. As we come to terms with this loss, there is a sense of fear and restlessness.”
A senior faculty member said, “The graveyard is comparatively small and old graves are now being dug up to make way for the new. This is not entirely unforeseen but it also explains the situation. At AMU, we never witnessed so many deaths.”
The Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) is one of the biggest hospitals in Aligarh and caters to four neighbouring districts. Doctors at the hospital have been dealing with an unprecedented situation with the rising number of Covid cases.
A high inflow of Covid patients from surrounding areas along with the faculty from within the AMU campus, has strained the facility.
Sources said that 8 to 10 burials are taking place on an average every day. “Even the ‘namaaz’ is being offered collectively,” said a student. — IANS