03/27/2019, 11.30
INDIA
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Mumbai Christians: "No cemetery, no votes"

The resident Christian community is about 900 thousand faithful. In the megalopolis there are six cemeteries and the bodies of the deceased are piled up on  top of each other to make room. The hashtag “#NoCemeteryNoVote” trends on  social networks.

Mumbai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "No cemetery, no vote": this is the warning launched by the Christians of Mumbai (Maharashtra) on the eve of the Indian general elections.

They complain little space to bury their dead in the megalopolis which has over 18 million inhabitants. Often they are forced to amass the bodies of the dead one on top of the other due to the overcrowding of the cemeteries.

This is why yesterday they appealed to the candidates of the next vote, which in the state begin on April 11th, and a hashtag that immediately became viral "#NoCemeteryNoVote".

The city of Mumbai is the largest financial center in the whole country, attracting companies from all over the world and thousands of migrants from rural areas of India. There are about 900 thousand Christian residents here; throughout the country the community represents 2.3% of the total population (ie 27.8 million faithful out of 1.3 billion inhabitants).

Unlike the Hindu faithful who cremate their dead, the Christian funeral ritual involves burial in the ground of the bodies. In Mumbai there are six public cemeteries and another three in the district of Thane, which has been incorporated into the city to the point it is now considered a suburb.

Kasber Augustine, a member of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, explains to the Thomson Reuters Foundation that in order to save space, the bodies are wrapped in swaddling clothes and buried in layers, instead of resting in wooden coffins as Christian tradition requires. The use of bandages serves to decompose the bodies faster, within about two years. Later the remains are transferred to a crypt.

However, the Catholic leader complains that the cemeteries have become so crowded that often, when a new burial is carried out, the remains of the previous deceased are not completely decomposed. This causes "an unpleasant experience for family members, forced to see the body of their loved  packed up to find a place".

For all these reasons the leaders of the Christian minority are meeting the candidates who present themselves for the re-election of the Lok Sabha of the Parliament (lower house). They urgently demand the creation of new cemeteries. Dolphy D’Souza, former vice president of the All India Catholic Union, protests: “You don't have a dignified life. And not even a dignified death ".

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