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Catholic Priest in Delhi Recommends Cremation for Christians

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 17:17 (IST)

Following space scarcity for Christian cemeteries in New Delhi and demand to reuse graves after five years, a Catholic priest recommended that Christians must go for cremation.

The Indian Christian Cemetery Committee (ICCC) that handles two cemeteries for various Christian denominations in the city declared that from Sept. 1 burial plots to people of the deceased will be given only for five years.

The development was made because "very soon we will have no space to bury our dead," said Rev. Samson R. Nath, chairman, ICCC.

Delhi government has denied providing more land for use as cemeteries.

"Asking people to opt for cremation will be the last resort when we will have no other choice. It is a very sensitive issue," said Rev. Nath.

It has been a growing concern for Christians and Muslims in New Delhi as they lack space to bury their dead.

Death rate has increase with the increase in the population, yet cemetery land remained the same, noted the Delhi high court in July, according to Eurasia Review.

Aware of the situation, Fr Savarimuthu Shankar, spokesman of Delhi Archdiocese, said that the archdiocese has been advocating for people to go for cremation as alternative.

"But we cannot force anyone because it is a very emotional and sensitive subject that needs to be handled very carefully," said Fr Shankar.

"It will take some time for the people to naturally opt for cremation," he added.