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India Covid crisis: Mumbai gravedigger works 24-hour shifts as death toll soars

Reuters/Mumbai
Filed on April 30, 2021 | Last updated on April 30, 2021 at 07.31 am
Photo: Reuters

Health systems and crematoriums have been overwhelmed.


Two or three months into the Covid-19 crisis, Mumbai gravedigger Sayyed Munir Kamruddin stopped wearing personal protective equipment and gloves.

"I'm not scared of Covid, I've worked with courage. It's all about courage, not about fear," said the 52-year-old, who has been digging graves in the city for 25 years.

India is in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections that has seen at least 300,000 people test positive each day for the past week, and its total cases rise past 18 million.

Health systems and crematoriums have been overwhelmed. In Delhi, ambulances have been taking the bodies of Covid-19 victims to makeshift crematoriums in parks and parking lots, where bodies are burned on rows and rows of funeral pyres.

Kamruddin says he and his colleagues are working around the clock to bury Covid-19 victims.

"This is our only job. Getting the body, removing it from the ambulance, and then burying it," he said, adding that he hasn't had a holiday in a year.

Kamruddin's faith keeps him going, and he doesn't expect aid from the government anytime soon.

“Our trust in our mosque is very strong,” he said. “The government is not going to give us anything. We don’t even want anything from the government.”





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