Graveyard Encroachments Pose Serious Challenges for Muslims in Hyderabad

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Urgent action is required from the authorities and the Waqf Board to address these illegal activities.

Team Clarion

HYDERABAD – The Muslim community here is grappling with a severe crisis as encroachments on graveyard lands have made it increasingly difficult to find burial sites. The situation is particularly dire in the Kala Pathar, Ziaguda, and Begum Bazar areas, where land mafias have demolished graves to make way for illegal constructions, leaving many residents deeply distressed.

According to reports, various graveyards in the old city are facing rampant encroachment. In many cases, members of the cemetery committees are allegedly complicit in these illegal activities. Moreover, it is claimed that the Telangana State Waqf Board has also failed to intervene effectively, exacerbating the problem.

One significant area affected is Begum Bazar, where encroachments have left little to no space for new burials. “Encroachment on cemetery lands has reached such an extent that finding a burial place has become nearly impossible,” said a concerned resident. “Large buildings have been constructed on what was once cemetery land, severely limiting available space,” he said.

Urbanisation of areas such as Pan Mandi has driven up the value of land, leading to increased encroachment. Social workers estimate that around 40 percent of cemetery land in the city has been seized by land grabbers. The major problem now is finding a resting place for the deceased, a task that has become increasingly challenging.

A local social worker highlighted the gravity of the situation, pointing to illegal constructions in cemeteries like Kala Pathar and Ziaguda. “In some areas, the retaining walls of cemeteries have been torn down to facilitate illegal construction on these sacred grounds,” he said. “Commercial buildings are being erected where graves once stood, completely disregarding the sanctity of these sites.”

Residents of areas such as Balapur, Chisalbanda, and Falaknuma have reported that tombs are being surrounded by walls, effectively seizing the land. Significant construction work is also underway in Aliabad and Asif Nagar cemeteries, causing further distress. Local inhabitants of Ziaguda have observed that new houses are being constructed illegally, despite legal restrictions.

“The law mandates that constructions should not encroach on cemetery land, but here we see 3 to 4 feet of construction activity encroaching into these sacred spaces,” noted a resident. “This clearly shows the negligence of authorities as no substantial action has been taken despite complaints.”

The failure of the Telangana State Waqf Board to effectively protect cemetery lands has been a point of contention. Local activists and community members have filed numerous complaints, but these have largely gone unaddressed. “It’s disheartening that despite clear evidence and repeated complaints, the authorities have taken no significant action,” said a local activist.

Shahid, a social worker, emphasised the need for immediate intervention. “We are seeing our heritage and sacred spaces being destroyed before our eyes. The authorities need to step in and enforce the laws to protect these cemeteries,” he said.

The Muslim community in Hyderabad is calling for urgent action to stop the encroachments and illegal constructions. Protecting these cemeteries is not only about preserving land but also about respecting the cultural and religious heritage of the community.

“The encroachment of cemetery lands is a grave injustice,” said a community leader. “We urge the government and the Waqf Board to take immediate steps to reclaim and protect our cemeteries. It is a matter of respect and dignity for the deceased and their families.”

The encroachment on graveyards in Hyderabad’s old city has reached critical levels, causing significant distress within the Muslim community. Urgent action is required from the authorities and the Waqf Board to address these illegal activities and preserve these sacred spaces for future generations.

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