Tumkur’s ‘Muslim Youth team’ performed last rites of 1200 Covid-19 victims

The pain of losing your loved ones is invincible. While the first and second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was deadly, claiming many lives, it is even more distressing to think of not getting the chance to say them one last goodbye. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, many were unable to participate in the last rites of their loved ones.

Last year when there was a nationwide lockdown, the second death in Karnataka was reported from the Tumkur district. At that time, people were not aware of how to perform the last rites when people succumbed to the virus. People were worried. There were rumours that all Covid-19 victim bodies will be burned.

‘Muslim Yuvakara Tanda’ led by Tajuddin Shariff, came forward to perform the last rites of the Covid-19 victims. With the help of District surgeon DR. Waseem Ahmed, ambulance driver Suhail, Zaheeruddin, and including other 3-4 people, they came to a solution. They have been working tirelessly to give a dignified funeral to the people who succumbed to the virus.

Speaking to THG, Tajuddin Shariff said, “When we started to perform the last rites, people were not accepting Covid-19 bodies to be buried in the graveyards. One MLA from the nearby village himself asked not to get the dead body to the town. We thought about what will happen if the deaths increase how are we going to tackle it. Then we spoke to doctors from Delhi, Ahmedabad and internationally too. We took suggestions from the doctors for the funeral of Muslim victims, as we can’t burn their bodies. We decided that if we don’t come forward to perform the last rites, then Muslim bodies will be burned too by the corporation.”

Taj said they did scientific research worldwide on how to do this. “Doctors supported and gave suggestions. Finally, we collected all the data and with the help of a local doctor, we formed a funeral coordination committee, made documents and presented it to the deputy commissioner.” He added the DC permitted them, but the question was who else was willing to come forward, although everyone around the globe was following that procedure but who was ready to do it in Tumkur. So Tajuddin and his team willingly took the responsibility to perform the final ritual of all Covid-19 victims.

He said the second death reported in the district was of Puttamma, but no one came to take her body. “The hospital authorities called us and we immediately agreed to perform her funeral. It was our first case of a non-Muslim. Whoever the dead person may be, at least he should get his last rites appropriately done.”

Last year in April, when people were quarantined, not even family would come and visit the patients. “We used to motivate them and help with warm water, food, medicines, etc. In the beginning, there were no basic facilities for the quarantined people and for at least two months, we helped them.”

“We faced a lot of problems, people were put in quarantine but no one provides medicines. So we conducted a meeting on a high level with the District Administrator, DC, MLAs and raised the issues faced by the people who are under quarantine,” he added.

Taj said they were the coordination between the pubic and district administration, and they worked as a bridge. “Now we have 30 members in our team. People are now coming forward to join us too, but in the initial time, no one was ready,” he added.

Shariff and his team have performed over 1200 funerals of all faiths and creeds, “there is no caste or race when a certain man dies in the district or a nearby village and their own people don’t accept their body. So we perform their funeral to give them a dignified goodbye. We have helped people from all religions. Priests from various faiths call us and appreciate us being Muslim how we are helping people from every sect.

He said that they used to get more than 20 bodies per day during the peak of the second wave. But now as the cases have declined and they get only 2-3 cases a day. “When we got the chance, we helped everyone. People were scared a lot. We used personally go and make people understand to give a place for burial, explaining to them that the virus doesn’t spread after the funeral.”

Remembering one of his team members, Tajuddin Shariff said “We even lost a team member in the first wake, Nisar Baig, he worked effortlessly for three months and contributed a lot.

Tajuddin concluded, “people are scared that even they might catch this virus but, still, they’re doing it. All Muslims are doing the funerals of non-Muslims brothers and sisters. We are doing this good work for the sake of Allah and humanity.”

Mohammed Noorulla, Mohammed Ali, Anjum Pasha, Shumail Ahmed, Ghouse Pasha Shaik, Mohammed Farooq, Saddam and Syed Mudassir are few of the team members working even now.

Latest Indian news

Popular Stories

Latest Video