'We have to pass by dead bodies when we go to pray'

It seems that even those who have passed away have to bear with the parking problem in the city. Jamali mosque at Reay Road is bearing the brunt of lack of parking space, as several trucks parked on the road have blocked the entrance to its gusalkhana, the room where dead bodies are kept before being buried in the cemetery.

No entry: Trucks parked in front of the mosque block its entrance. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The mosque is attached to the Nariyal Wadi cemetery. Before the burial, there are certain rituals and formalities to be completed, during which the body is kept in an adjacent chamber.

The parked trucks have blocked the entrance to this room. This leaves mosque authorities with no other option than to keep the body at the main entrance, which is used by everyone who comes to the mosque to pray -- children and adults alike. This means they have to pass by a dead body while entering to offer their prayers.

“As the entrance to the gusalkhana is occupied by these trucks, the bodies are kept in the mosque. We have to see dead bodies when we go to pray at the mosque,” said Shabbir Hariyanwala, a Byculla resident.

This is not the only problem the trucks face. The people living in shanties outside the cemetery litter around the trucks, and throw their trash everywhere. The garbage is not picked up, since the trucks obstruct the garbage van. Authorities and visitors to the mosque complain of the foul smell every day.

Mosque authorities have written many time to officials, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Khuzaima Bhanpurwala, senior priest at the mosque, said, “We have been trying to get the trucks removed for the past two years, but nothing has been done.”

There are toilet blocks beside the mosque, but the vehicles have blocked the entrance to these facilities also. “When I come to the mosque in the morning, there are people defecating outside. Requests made to the traffic police have also been useless,” added Bhanpurwala.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation washed its hands of the matter. Sanjay Khabre, deputy municipal commissioner, E ward where the mosque falls, said, “The BMC cannot do anything in this case. The traffic department has to deal with it.”  

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