DNA: Mumbai: Monday, January 30, 2017.
According to information obtained under the RTI Act by Qureshi, two persons from the community die every day. “Bodies are taken for final rituals and burials to Juhu-Santacruz (W) or Bandra (E),” the PIL claimed while urging the court to direct the authorities to allot a one-hectare land for a cemetery for the community.
“How do you expect the family, where there has been a death, to travel long distances to perform the last rites, given the present traffic scenario,” the Bombay High Court asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently, after it filed an affidavit in the court stating that there was no plot reserved for the Sunni burial ground in Bandra West.
Not accepting the stand the corporation took, the high court said “In light of the earlier directions on the publication of draft plans and the information placed on record by the petitioner, we are unable to accept the statement of the Corporation in the affidavit that they have not earmarked anything in Special Planning Area (SPA) Block-A for the kabrastan, which totally lacks application of mind to their own draft plan.”
The court has asked the civic body to file another affidavit by February 3, explaining their stand with more details on whether the plot of land at Bandra Reclamation is reserved for the kabrastan or not. The direction was given during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by Bandra resident Furqan Qureshi, regarding the failure of the authorities to allot land to the community for burying their dead.
Earlier, the BMC had said, the responsibility of allotting land was that of the government. The state on the other hand claims that the civic body needs to allot the space. Advocate Ashraf Shaikh, counsel for the petitioner said, the draft development plan 2016 mentions the reservation of land for a Muslim cemetery in Block A, but does not specify the area or provide any details. There are around 1.72 lakh Sunni Muslims residing in Bandra (W) and Khar (W), the PIL claimed.