General view of Hyderabad. The incident in Khairatabad area of Hyderabad won all round applause and appreciation for the group Image Credit: Gulf News

Hyderabad: Even as virulent hate campaign was continuing unabated on social media in India targeting the Muslim community as “spreaders of coronavirus”, a group of youth from the minority community in Hyderabad set a shining example of communal harmony and amity.

When close relatives and friends of a man, who died of tuberculosis did not come forward to perform his last rites due to the unfounded fears of contracting COVID-19, some of his Muslim friends came forward to make all the arrangements and even took the bier on their shoulders to cremation ground.

The incident in Khairatabad area of Hyderabad won all round applause and appreciation for the group. Venu Modiraj, 50, an auto rickshaw driver, died while under going treatment at Osmania General Hospital. As he had only two young sons in the family, his wife having died some time back, there was nobody to make arrangements for his cremation except his brother Vinod. When his body was brought home for last rites, the neighbours took strong objection fearing that he might have died of coronavirus.

To add to its woes the family also had little money to make preparations for cremation. Hearing the tale of woes of the family, local Muslim youth led by social worker Sadeq Bin Salam pooled the resources and organised his cremation. The police allowed only 10 persons to attend the funeral in view of the lockdown restrictions.

Apart from Sadeq Bin Salam, Abdul Muqtadir, Shaikh Qasim, Mohammed Abdul Majid and Mohammed Ahmed were part of the group, which took the body to the cremation ground in Banjara Hills. The eldest son of the deceased lighted the pyre.

The group also organised the food for the family members. “This is our reply to all those hate mongers who were vilifying Muslims and spreading hatred all around the country”, said Sadeq.

“We can not express our gratitude to the Muslim brothers who on request of another Muslim friend came forward and helped us”, said Vinod Mudiraj.

This was not an isolated case where Muslims organised or performed cremation for members of Hindu community under the lockdown conditions. A couple of weeks back a local Muslim group organised cremation of a Hindu lady in Adilabad. There were similar reports from other states including Uttar Pradesh and Gujrat.

Burial opposed

Meanwhile in Kurnool city of Andhra Pradesh tension prevailed when body of a 70-year-old coronavirus victim was brought to local graveyard for burial by the police along with a few family members.

But hundreds of angry locals foiled the attempt strongly opposing his burial fearing it will spread the virus in the area.

Police inspector Mohammed Tabrez said the body was taken from the local government hospital to the nearby Budhwarpet Hindu Shamshan Vatika but in view of the strong opposition from the locals they backed off. “We are making alternate arrangements”, he said.