BJP Leaders Slammed for Objecting to Presence of Muslim Workers at Crematorium in Gujarat

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People wait by the burning pyre of a relative who died of COVID-19, at a crematorium in New Delhi, on June 5, 2020. — AP file

Muslims of Vadodra are reported to have cremated at least 1,000 bodies during last one year; Minister and City mayor hold meeting with members of the Muslim community and thank them for their support

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Many people on social media denounced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Monday for raising objections to the presence of Muslim workers at the crematorium of Vadodara in Gujarat.

On Friday, when some BJP leaders of Vadodara including unit president Dr Vijay Shah went to the crematorium of the city for the last rite of a party leader, they saw a Muslim man preparing the pyre with the wood and cow dung cakes for the burial. They warned Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) for allowing Muslims to enter the crematorium.

“We learnt that he is a contractor supplying wood and cow dung cakes but he has sublet a contract or appointed more Muslim youth to work in the crematorium, which is wrong. Volunteering for good work is one thing but getting into religious rituals when you have no knowledge of it is not welcome… We have told the VMC that the person, who is given the contract for the supply of wood and cow dung could deliver it outside the crematorium. He does not need to be inside,” Shah was quoted by the Indian Express as saying.

The actions of the BJP leaders have received flak online as well as offline.

Journalist Vir Singhvi slammed them saying they will carry their hatred and bias to their crematoria.

Another journalist Rohini Singh said that while people are grappling with terrible pandemic, BJP leaders continue to be hateful.

Businessman Zafar Sareshwala told them to stop playing their bigotry at least at the crematorium.

Journalist Suhasini Haider called it lack of humanity and intelligence.

Since the pandemic has broken out, Muslims in Vadodara and other parts of the country have come forward to perform the last rites of the Coronavirus deceased while families of the victims often refuse to do so or are unable to do it.

According to a staff member of Khaswadi crematorium, Muslims cremated at least 1,000 bodies last year.

“This man has been working here tirelessly with us… There have been at least 1,000 bodies that have been cremated in this crematorium by Muslim brothers in the last year and no one questioned them because no one was here to see them,” he said.

Some BJP leaders have also criticized their party leaders for taking such a stand calling it “embarrassing”. Reacting to the objections of the BJP leaders, Mayor Keyur Rokadia said that the issue will be resolved amicably and appealed to the communities to work together at the time of pandemic.

On Sunday, Rokadia along with Minister Yogesh Patel held a meeting with the members of the Muslim community to thank them for their support during pandemic. They also made it clear that the contract of the Muslim man would not be changed.

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