Agiaries, other religious sites, must be fire-safe

Updated: Mar 19, 2020, 07:04 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

This has evinced shock and anger in the tiny, enterprising community not just in Mumbai but elsewhere too. Community members claim they know of at least three to four more cases where priests have been burnt because of the fire within the temples

Ervad Nozer B Vajifdar
Ervad Nozer B Vajifdar

This paper ran a report about a tragic incident. A 71-year-old Parsi priest perished from burn complications on Monday after his priestly gown caught fire. He was at prayers at a South Mumbai agiary.

This has evinced shock and anger in the tiny, enterprising community not just in Mumbai but elsewhere too. Community members claim they know of at least three to four more cases where priests have been burnt because of the fire within the temples.

Not pointing to any agiary in particular but applicable to all, every agiary must be equipped with some fire-fighting measures. There must be working fire extinguishers installed inside all agiaries and some personnel within these institutions should be taught how to use them.

In fact, this should be mandatory not just at these places of worship, but inside every big religious building which sees crowds. Most religious places see prayers with diyas or candles. While these may not be blazing fires, they are fires nevertheless and so it is important for one to have fire-fighting equipment.

The Parsi community especially is hoping that Panthakies of all Paak Agiaries and Paak Atash Behram Sahebs come out with some protocol, to not have a very big blazing fire in the Afarganyu (i.e. fire vase) when Hushmordi ceremonies are going on. Just embers of the fire with two Baval ni Kathi on the side with some tacho of bavla and sukhad is enough.

There are some other suggestions too and while not all may agree, community leaders can debate and discuss about the way ahead, given that other priests across the country have also suffered burn injuries in the past. Let this lead to a rethink and dialogue in an open and honest manner, for this is no criticism or any religion, just observations and suggestions.

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