Mumbai, (The Hindu): Following censure by the Bombay High Court, the State government on Friday agreed to give 5,000-sq. m. in Aarey Colony for a Christian cemetery.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M.S. Sonak was hearing a PIL filed by the United Christian Community Centre, a charitable trust, that said the community hasn’t been allotted a burial ground on a 25-km stretch from Dahisar to Khar in the western suburbs. According to the PIL, the BMC had allotted a plot in 1993 for a Christian cemetery in Akurli, Kandivili (East). However, it claimed, civic authorities didn’t build a boundary wall to separate the Muslim and Christian burial grounds.
The PIL claims the community has not been allotted a burial ground since 2000. In May 2016, the reservation of a 7,500-sq.m. piece of land for a Christian cemetery was cancelled, and a 2,500 sq.m. plot in Andheri was given to the community instead. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the BMC, said the 5,000-q.m. plot will be realigned and made available for the cemetery within two months.
Earlier, the court had remarked, “You are not a dictator, we are living in a democratic society. How can the allotment of a plot for a Christian cemetery be cancelled just like that, for no apparent reason?” In the last hearing, the court had directed BMC to come up with an alternate plot for the cemetery by November 17.
It had said, “We want the administration to show to the public that it believes in and will implement the principle of secularism. One community cannot be given the upper hand over any other religious community. We believe in the principle of unity in diversity, and there cannot be a greater equalising factor than death. Do not discriminate in death.”
The court has directed the government and the BMC to give an undertaking on this by next week.
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