HYDERABAD: Realtors developing new colony clusters are now earmarking space for ‘graveyards’ too in the city and outskirts. The move comes following shortage of graveyards in and around the state capital.
With the existing graveyards managed by the state Wakf Board and private managements of religious shrines or institutions running out of space, the concept of graveyard for five colonies was fast catching up.
In the newly developed areas of Bandlaguda, Balapur, Shaheennagar, Jalpally, Shastripuram, Rajendranagar and Sun City, land parcel between one to three acres are set aside for graveyards.
A land parcel of about 20-25 acres needs to have 2 acres set aside for graveyards. A Bandla-guda realtor Abdul Raheem said many middle class and low middle class families, especially those who migrated from other cities, saw graveyards as a plus point. “After park, civic amenities, the people are demanding a graveyard too. Because, in other localities or graveyards outsiders are not allowed to bury the bodies,” he added.
The graveyards in the city are not on par with the population growth of Muslims. Old graveyards in the city are already full with managements putting up boards asking the people to look for some other place to bury their dear ones.
In some graveyards, families pay to fence up land parcels for exclusive use. Social activist Zaheeruddin Ahmed said graveyard managements charged anywhere between `10,000 to `20,000 for two yards, depending on the space and demand.
Another issue was encroachment of graveyards, added another social activist S.Q. Masood.
“The price goes up if the shrine of a Sufi saint is nearby. One has to fork out close to `1 lakh or more in important darghas,” TS minorities commission former chairperson Abid Rasool Khan said.
What has compounded matters is the practice of making concrete tombs contrary to principles of Sharia which encouraged ‘kuccha' (temporary) graves, said Islamic scholar Ather Moin.
Wakf fails to stop ‘graveyard loot’
The Telangana State Wakf Board’s plans to stop collection of money by graveyard managements has failed.
According to the social activists, the loot continues and managements demand anywhere between `10,000 and `25,000 at local graveyards and in lakhs at other popular graveyards attached to Sufi shrines.
“The grave diggers never turn up at the spot unless the bereaved family members pay the money to the caretaker. Only after this, they do digging and other customs,” said S.M. Abdul Samad of Millat Front.
Activist Mohammed Ilyas Shamshi said there was no complain cell to bring the issues to the notice of the Wakf board. Moreover, except issuing a notice, the board could not take any action. There has been no police complaint so far against extortion.
Board chairman Mohammad Saleem said several land parcels for free burial have now been identified. “Recently, we allotted a huge land parcel at Balapur on city outskirts for a graveyard,” he said, adding that in case of extortion, a complaint should be made to the board or the police....