Hindus in Pakistan demand land for burial
Islamabad: Hindus in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi have requested authorities to provide land for a cemetery as existing burial sites have been filled to capacity, according to a media report Monday.
The low caste Hindus, who bury their dead, made the request to the City District Government of Rawalpindi.
Municipal officials said the Hindus had been provided two burial sites but leaders of the minority community said these sites have no more space and were not secure.
Upper caste Hindus said the low caste Hindus were welcome to cremate their dead at the Shamshan Ghat at Tipu Road though burials would not be allowed as space is limited, the Dawn reported.
Hindus leaders said the two burial sites have their own problems.
Members of the community said they avoided burying their dead at a site near the Benazir Bhutto International Airport because a Pakistan Air Force base is located nearby.
"The area is also surrounded by security departments and the Hindus avoid going there, fearing security checks," said an unnamed Hindu community member.
The cremation ground has its own problems.
"We have a Shamshan Ghat on Tipu Road but there is no place to bury the dead there. One of our community members had to bury his daughter in a Muslim graveyard but later had to exhume the body after a year," said Pandit Chana Lal.
Hindus also said there is an issue with privacy at the Shamshan Ghat.
"When we go to Tipu Road Mandir and Shamshan Ghat to cremate our dead, all the people residing in the adjacent buildings come out on the rooftops and see our religious rituals, making us feel very uncomfortable," said Lal.
The Hindus were left with no option but to request the administration to allocate more land for burial and cremation, he said.
"The low caste Hindus are poor and they will not be able to purchase land for their graveyards," said Lal.
Potohar Town Municipal Administration Town Officer Mohammad Kamran said he had conducted a survey after receiving an application from the Hindu community but found they already had two burial sites.
He said he had invited Hindu elders for talks on the issue.
District administration chief Saqib Zafar said he would submit a report to the Punjab government after deliberations so that a final decision could be made.
He said, in all probability, land would be allotted to the Hindus in the outer areas of Rawalpindi.
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