When even kin hesitate to perform last rites of the victims, Good Samaritans are rising to the occasion
Some people are rising above religion, caste and creed, reaffirming our faith in humanity when all we hear during COVID-19 pandemic are instances of unscrupulous elements cashing in on the calamity. These are voluntary organisations and people coming forward to perform the last rites of the deceased belonging to different religions, especially at a time when even kin are shying from doing so.
Bilalpur New Youth Welfare Society, a group of seven Muslims, in Jagtial district has arranged the last rites for 210 Hindus and 73 Muslims who died of COVID in the past six months. The group led by Mohammed Muneer (48), a plumber and electrician from Korutla, disposes of the bodies as per the religious customs of the dead. “In Islam we bury the dead, while Hindus cremate or bury, in some cases. But, ultimately every human being deserves a decent resting place,” he said.
Speaking to The Hindu, he said as relatives of several COVID-19 victims are not coming forward to perform last rites fearing contracting the virus, they decided to help the families in shifting the bodies in ambulances from houses to burial/ cremation grounds in Jagtial, Korutla and Metpally towns in the district. Mr. Muneer said he and some like-minded people formed the group when they saw the agony of COVID victim’s family in Nirmal district. “The authorities dug a big pit and dumped his body in it. That incident moved me to do something,” he added.
Similarly, a Muslim couple in Warangal have proved that humanity is above religion. Forty-seven-year-old Md. Mahaboob Ali and his wife Yakoob Bi (42), who run Sahrudaya Home for Orphans and Aged have endeared themselves to locals with their selfless service. Last month, the couple performed the funeral rites of a 70-year-old man Veeraswamy, who died in the old age home, as per Hindu traditions.
“When someone is abandoned and has nobody to take care, how can we turn a blind eye?,” Mahaboob Ali alias Chotu told The Hindu. In the last one year, the old age home has given a decent farewell to 10 inmates of different faiths.
The old age home has 80 inmates and luckily so far none of them have contracted coronavirus.
As the husband-wife’s gesture made headlines, two Muslim ambulance drivers of Banswada town in Kamareddy district too won appreciation for their good deed. A COVID-19 positive patient Mogaliah died in Banswada hospital. When his family members refused to come forward, it was left to the ambulance drivers Shafi and Ali to perform the last rights.