Pune: Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak last year, a group of Muslim men in Pune have been performing cremation and burial of abandoned and unclaimed corpses of COVID-19 victims.
They have continued with the task even during Ramadan and observing their roza (fasting during the Muslim holy month).
“We don’t differentiate between religions. All we understand is humanity. We perform last rites for corpses of both Hindu and Muslim victims,” says Javed Khan, a member of the team working under the Ummat Foundation.
The foundation has already cremated and buried the bodies of over 1,000 abandoned bodies so far.
Clad in PPE kits and following all COVID-19 health norms, the team performs the last rites of these bodies.
The foundation swings into action whenever they get a call from the local administration for help.
“Even during our fasting, we are unable to sleep or rest for more than four hours as we start getting calls for the local administration and families of COVID-19 deceased since early morning. All 40 members, who are fasting, contribute to this task,” he added.
Ummat Foundation started its journey about three years back with cremation and burial of unclaimed dead bodies in the city.
Soon after the COVID-19 outbreak, the flow of deceased from across the city increased, forcing the body to increase its services.
Pune district has reported 10,902 fresh COVID19 cases, 120 fatalities and 11,174 recoveries in the last 24 hours on Wednesday, said the Health Department of Pune.
The district currently has an ‘active case’ load of1,01,376 while the number of total cases stands at 7,53,353.
The death toll mounts to 11,767.