Hyderabad: The coronavirus pandemic has brought stories of frontline workers who are working on the ground level despite all the risks to the fore. From doctors and nurses to civic workers and police, these stories are full of dedication and selfless service.
After the news went viral over social media that 200 bodies have been buried in Chanchalguda graveyard in the past eight days. Siasat.com spoke to this grave digger there to verify the truth during this COVID-19 outbreak.
Mohammed Khan, 28 the cemetery supervisor at Sultan Dai-e-ra Graveyard near Chanchalguda Jail is a fourth-generation cemetery worker.
Khan and fifteen members of his family are taking care of this place. He along with his brothers have buried more than 15 COVID-19 victims in Chanchalguda cemetery till now.
In conversation with siasat.com, Khan claimed that no none in his family has ever seen this kind of situation before. Though he was not provided with protection gear (PPE kit) all the time. He buried 10 bodies without wearing PPE. In some cases, the family members of the deceased gave some to them. However, mostly Khan and his family members were just covering their faces.
Khan said, “The first corona victim was buried in the month of March during the observance of the first phase of the strict lockdown. The body was buried by the GHMC workers. We were scared to touch the body. Now that the cases and deaths have increased, we got use to it. The only fear in our heart is of our family members getting affected. Even we have small children at home. Therefore, if the Telangana Waqf Board or the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) provide us proper protection gear it would be helpful for us and to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Khan told siasat.com.
When asked about the viral news that over 200 bodies were buried in eight days, Khan confirmed it. In the previous month, 200 bodies were buried by us but not all of them were COVID-19 victims. Around 10 to 12 were COVID-19 victims.
Khan also revealed that nine to 12 bodies are being buried daily due deaths via with various health problems like multiple organs failure, heart attack and etc.
Whenever a janaza (funeral procession) arrives in the graveyard or whenever people come to ask for burial space, we ask them how the person died. After inquiring about the reason of death we start preparing for the burial.
With immense fear around even touching COVID victims’ bodies, Khan mentioned how family members of the dead or the hospital staff are not ready to unload the body.
“What is sad is that the ambulance people bring the body while family members are standing afar. Both the family members ambulance personnel tell each other to take the body out but nobody gets around to doing it soon enough.”
Khan also stated that some part of the Chanchalguda Graveyard has been separately allocated for coronavirus victims’ bodies. One month later, that land was also filled with COVID-19 victims later on the instructions of area corporator. Another part of that land in the same graveyard which is rapidly filling up with bodies was given for coronavirus victims.
AIMIM Corporator Mohammed Murtuza Ali, said, “Over 200 bodies have been buried in the Chanchalguda graveyard including COVID-19. But now the corona victims’ bodies will be asked to go to Faqeer Mullah in Balapur which is earmarked for COVID-19 burials only as there is no place left in the Chanchalguda graveyard. Those who already have their members in this graveyard are only allowed to have the grave in the Chanchalguda Qabristan (graveyard).”