With cemeteries full, Bengaluru’s Christians move to outskirts for burial

Church’s appeal for allotment of land is yet to be met by the government

With close to 3,000 deaths reported in the Christian community since April 1, many of which are COVID-19-related, the five big cemeteries in Bengaluru have run out of space and have been closed for burials. Meanwhile the Karnataka government is yet to act on its promise of providing land for burial.

While the Catholic community alone has seen nearly 1,600 deaths since April 1, at least 1,200 deaths have been reported among other denominations, sources in the Archbishop’s office said. In the last few days, burials in new graves have stopped taking place in Kalpalli, Mysuru Road, Hosur Road and Ulsoor, since the cemeteries are full. Only families that have designated graves are conducting funerals in these cemeteries, church sources said.

Archbishop Peter Machado’s appeal to the State Government earlier in April for five acres on the City’s outskirts that all Christian denominations is yet to be addressed. It is learnt that even the Church of South India (CSI) has made a similar appeal to the Government.

In quarry

“A 2.2 acres plot at S. Bingipura in Jigani offered to us is a quarry that is filled with water. Just about 30 % of the place can be used. The other place offered in Kodathi near HSR Layout is a dump yard. We have been asking for a survey of the land that is yet to be done,” said J.A. Kanthraj, spokesperson for Archibishop’s office.

“In spite of Archbishop reaching out to the Revenue Minister R. Ashok and Deputy Commissioner Manjunath and them promising to allot land, nothing has happened so far,” he added. The church has indicated that it has no problem if it is allotted on the City’s outskirts, given the scarcity of land inside City.

Families are now moving to the outskirts in Kengeri, Hangal, Hegde Nagar and Devanahalli for burials. “We have been requesting suburban parishes to allow burials in their cemeteries,” said Mr. Kantharaj.

Real estate lobby

One of the reasons for delay in identifying land for cemetery is the role of the real estate lobby, say sources in the government. “Once the cemetery comes up, the adjacent plots lose value for real estate development and hence these forces work against having a cemetery around them,” sources said.

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