The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is set to open 10 burial grounds on the citys outskirts this week for people who died after contracting COVID-19.
The Revenue Department is in the process of handing over the land they have earmarked for the grounds. Once it is done, we will immediately open them, said civic Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad.
Owing to protests by residents living around burial grounds in the city, most of those who die of COVID-19 are being cremated, even those who were members of communities that traditionally bury their dead. The Archdiocese of Bangalore has written to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa seeking grant of land on the citys outskirts for burial grounds for those who die of COVID-19. Christianity doesnt consider cremation as the mode of last rites. Giving the bodies of patients who die of COVID-19 for cremation causes much mental trauma for the family members, Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore, said in his letter, a copy of which is available with The Hindu.
The Revenue Department has now identified two parcels of land in Dasanapura hobli of Bengaluru North taluk, one site in Uttarahalli hobli of Bengaluru South taluk, one each in Jigani and Sarjapur hoblis of Anekal taluk, and six parcels in Jala hobli of Yelahanka taluk totalling to just over 23 acres. The department had in fact identified over 35 acres of land, of which many were dropped due to virulent protests by the locals.
The 10 burial grounds will be open to everyone irrespective of their religion.
At the recent BBMP council, Mr. Prasad said many communities living around the plots identified for burial grounds had expressed reservations. Despite officials trying to convince them that there is no chance of spread of COVID-19 once the body is buried, residents had opposed the move, forcing the authorities to look for new land.There is a misconception that burial of COVID-19 victims is potentially dangerous. There is scientific evidence that it is not. We will take up an awareness campaign in the media and also hold meetings with local villagers and convince them, said Mr. Prasad.
J.A. Kantharaj, spokesperson, Archdiocese of Bangalore, said the church owned several land parcels across the city and were prepared to bury COVID-19 victims from the community if the civic and police administration stood by them against protests by local residents. In several cases, the police have tried to diffuse the situation by asking the families to not bury at the site, the most recent being in Vidyaranyapura, he said.