Muslim men organize last rites of Hindu man in Hyderabad

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HYDERABAD: Five Muslim friends carried out the last rites of an auto driver, a Hindu, who had died of tuberculosis but neighbours ostracised the family fearing it to be a Covid-19 death.

Venu Mudiraj, 50, from Khairatabad died at OGH on April 16 and trouble started after his family brought home the body the next day for his funeral. His two teenaged children and uncle G Vinod faced the heat from neighbours for bringing the body home, as they alleged Mudiraj had died of coronavirus and refused all help.


“He was suffering from tuberculosis and during the lockdown period his condition deteriorated. But after his death, there was absolutely no one to take care of the children as their mom had died a few years ago,” said Mudiraj’s brother Vinod who lives a few kilometres away in Ramnagar.

The children did not have money for the funeral and the neighbours kept away. Just when the crestfallen family was giving up hope, help came from an unexpected quarter.

“A friend who lives in the same locality reached out to us claiming that nobody was coming forward to make arrangements for the funeral due to Covid-19 fear. That’s when I and my four friends decided to go there and help the family,” said Sadeq bin Salam, a social worker in the area.

Wearing masks, men carry bier for last rites

Salam along with Mohammad Majid, Abdul Muqtadir, Mohammad Ahmed and Shaik Khasim sought permission from cops and planned the final rites. They arranged food for the family members and a few relatives who joined the funeral.

“At a time when our community is being targeted for the spread of novel coronavirus after the Tablighi Jamaat meet, we wanted to set an example of how we all stand united, despite the attempts to create divisions and hatred,” said Salam.

Wearing masks, as citizens have been asked to while stepping out in public places, the men carried the bier on their shoulders from Khairatabad to a crematorium on Road No 13 in Banjara Hills. Only 10 persons were allowed to attend the funeral because of the lockdown imposed in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The son lit the pyre and cremation was done as per Hindu rituals.

“On humanitarian grounds, the five men not only stayed back till the end of the funeral but also spent some time to alleviate fear by spreading awareness among people in the locality,” Vinod said.

According to the group , their action would set an example of communal harmony. They carried the bier to the crematorium and also stayed back till the end of the funeral.


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