Muslims of Salcete have been deprived of a proper spacious burial place or a Kabrastan for nearly two decades. The previous Congress Government and the present BJP Government had both promised to develop the land for a burial ground.
Three years have passed since the Former Chief Minister had met a delegation of Muslims from various areas and Masjids and represented by Ex MLA Damu Naik, over the issue. Three Collectors of South Goa, 2 Chief Ministers and 18 years of demands haven’t been able to get a rightful place of burial for the Madgaonkar Muslims. The existing Kabrastan is overflowing, and the files ‘shelved’.
The Kabrastan in Pajifond is being used from the pre-liberation period of Goa. But at the rate of 4 burials per day, the Kabrastan was full 20 years ago. Six months before the assembly elections, the Congress Government gave the green signal for the acquisition of land at Sonsoddo. Congress later got whitewashed and Manohar Parrikar came to power as the Chief Minister of Goa in the BJP led Government. The Sunni Jamia Masjid Muslims Association along with all other Masjid Committees met the South Goa District Collector, N.D.Agarwal, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and others on the 24th of September 2013. Very swiftly it was then decided that 31,500 sq mts of land near Sonsoddo will be given for the burial ground. Land was acquired; mutation done but the files for development of the land never saw the light of day.
The General Secretary Sunni Jamia Masjid Muslims Association, Atik Benducda told Herald, “A little ray of hope was seen during mid-2014. The existing 7,000 sq mt of land at the historic Kabrastan in Pajifond was being developed to add a little more capacity to the space. Private land was bought; money was paid, but still nothing concrete. Then came another road block, this time in the form of neighbouring residents who objected to the expansion. The whole procedure was rolled back and money was returned”.
“The present Kabrastan is the only burial ground for Muslims from Margao, Fatorda, Navelim, Seraulim and Chandor,” Benducda told Herald. The association has now pleaded that the Government should at least demarcate the land at Sonsoddo which will enable them to temporarily start burying the dead there.