Unsung Corona Warriors Series: Delhi’s first Maulvi to perform Namaz for COVID victims
In the second part of Asiaville’s series – Unsung Corona Warriors – Mohammad Wasim reveals that he has read the Namaz-e-Janaza of nearly 375 COVID victims. The 35-year-old Maulvi who works at Delhi’s ITO graveyard has not visited his family ever since the COVID deaths started to surge in the national capital.
While carrying out the first burial of the COVID victim in Delhi, Mohammad Wasim and his colleagues had to face the ire of the local residents and the police. The 35-year-old Maulvi, who works at Delhi’s ITO graveyard, recalled how the victim’s body was first taken to the graveyard near Kale Khan area, where the police allegedly stopped the burial. Then it was brought to the ITO graveyard and from there it was sent back to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Since then a lot has changed, Wasim said. Initially, the fear was high that even the relatives of the deceased were not ready to touch the bodies of COVID victims.
“I am giving you an example of a COVID victim who was an army man. Even though his colleagues had come here in PPE kits, they didn’t touch his dead body,” Wasim told Asiaville.
The only person to help him in the burial process was the hospital staff who had brought the body.
“I had told his colleagues that at least you can hold the shroud. But no one stepped forward. They paid the tribute to him outside the graveyard but didn’t touch his janaza,” he further added.
Wasim hails from Haryana and has not been able to visit his family ever since the COVID toll started to surge in the national capital.
“At times, I feel low. We always live under the fear that we might have been infected by corona. But by God’s grace we are safe,” he said.
With the passage of time, a new challenge knocked at the doors of Wasim and those responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the ITO graveyard.
“Now people are not following the social distancing measures,” Mohammad Shamim, caretaker of the graveyard, told Asiaville.
Shamim said, “During the lockdown, fewer people used to attend the burials. Back then, people were afraid. But now that fear is fading away. We are facing problems in ensuring social distancing.”