No burial land for Christians as TS Govt dodges the promise it made

Hyderabad: Nearly nine years ago ahead of the Christmas celebrations in the city, the newly-elected Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had promised to allot 100 acres of land to the Christian community for burial ground. The Christian community, however, continues to suffer with the shortage of land to bury their dearest as there are no signs of the promised land getting allotted as yet.

According to the Christian faith, burial is important as the dead, who are buried, are raised on the judgement day. However, the existing cemeteries in the twin cities are facing acute paucity of land, forcing some families to bury their deceased at the place where their ancestors were buried long back. The Christians, who migrated to the city recently, on the other hand, fail to find space to bury their deceased.

The shortage of land in the cemeteries is forcing caretakers of the burial grounds to remove old graves, which are unattended by their loved ones, and sell them for a good price. For instance, most graves, which were in marble and granite belonging to the British among others, have gone missing as their family members left Hyderabad.

“Leave alone the monetary part, when someone dies in the family, the body will lie at home if there is no space at the cemetery. Can they bury the body at home? What will they do? So we play a crucial role by helping the family at the most crucial time,” argues the in-charge of one of the protestant cemeteries in Hyderabad. “It is the government’s responsibility, but they are shrugging it off,” he added.

Sleeve Galleli, the secretary of the United Christmas Celebration Committee, said a promise was made to us by the Chief Minister during the Christmas celebrations. By this December, nine years have passed.”

“After we gave several representations and staged protests, the government announced that they identified 64 acres of land and promised to give it to the Christian community, but nothing happened till now,“ Galleli said, fuming at government representatives from the Christian community.

“The leaders, who represent the Christian community, are not raising the Christian issues with authorities; they have become a hand in glove of the government,” Galleli alleged.

Concurring with Galleli, Christian activist David Jude said, “The community lacks a proper representative, who could take up its issues with the government. The leaders, who are representing the community, have become mute spectators, and are keen on safeguarding their interests.”

“Christian graveyards lack basic amenities. The government that speaks of great developments failed to fulfil basic facilities at the graveyards. The community has always been given step-motherly treatment,” said Michael Abraham, an elderly person from the community.

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