Burial of a COVID-19 patient at Tujan Pulwama
Burial of a COVID-19 patient at Tujan Pulwama (Photo: Reshi Irshad/The Kashmir Pulse)

SRINAGAR — The cemeteries are turning into goldmines for Kashmir’s gravediggers as they charge exorbitantly for those who are dying due to Coronavirus.

As per the families of those who have died due to the pandemic in the recent past in Srinagar and elsewhere, the gravediggers have been demanding hefty sum for digging graves, not bothered whether the family of deceased can afford it or not.

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Sheikh Danish, a local resident from Srinagar said that the ongoing COVID-19 has proved to be a goldmine for the gravediggers as they are charging exorbitant rates from the families whose beloved die due to the virus.

“One of my relatives died due to COVID-19 a few days back. Soon after we reached the graveyard, the gravedigger had already completed all the formalities of digging and had prepared a grave for the deceased,” he said.

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Danish further stated that the time when the gravedigger was leaving the place, the family offered Rs 5,000 to him for digging a grave, which the toiler refused and asked for Rs 17,000 from them and stated that he has received Rs 20,000 at Pantha Chowk yesterday for digging a simple grave for COVID-19 victim.

“The gravediggers are looting the people amid the pandemic and don’t even touch the corpses or the other belongings,” he said, adding that “there are people who have managed to pay a hefty amount so far. But, there are also people in the society who can’t even afford to pay just Rs 1,000 to the gravediggers.”

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“One fails to understand when the government is providing all the stuff like shrouds and other things, then why don’t it arrange the man for grave digging as well. It would lessen the sufferings of people who face a jolt at the time of the death of their beloved due to COVID-19,” he said, adding that stern action should be taken against the persons involved in it.

The local residents in Srinagar here appealed the authorities in the district administration to look into the matter and ensure that the people are not looted by the gravediggers any further.

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