It is said that bad times reveal the true identity of relationships, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been a testing period in every aspect. Many bodies of Covid victims went unclaimed. That is when Iqbal Mamdani, a former Mumbai-based journalist, came forward and took the initiative of performing the last rites of the unclaimed bodies. He started with dead bodies from his own community, and then moved to performing last rites for all religions, seeing the need.
Mr Mamdani, 51, has now become the liberator of unclaimed dead bodies. He and his companions have perfomed last rites for around 1,400 dead bodies in Mumbai, of which 800 were Hindus and 600 were Muslims.
While talking to NDTV, Mr Mamdani who also runs Mamdani Trust said, “When we started the work, in Mumbai, we use to move the Muslims dead bodies to the graveyard, but when we started going to the graveyard, it came to our notice that there were many bodies with sign cards and there was nobody to bury them. During this situation we saw, a father was not ready to claim the body of his son, a son was unwilling to claim the body his parents, regardless of the religion. Then we spoke to the doctors and said that if you permit us, we can perform the last rites of such a dead bodies according to our own customs.”
Mr Mamdani and his team took full care of the fact that last rites of those who died were performed according to their religion.
In order to provide impetus to the campaign, the Just Smile Foundation had also come forward and joined hands with Mr Mamdani. Mehul Vithlani of Just Smile Foundation said, “There was only one emotion that their last rites should be performed according to their religion, so that their journey onwards is peaceful.”
In the second wave of Covid, the fear of the people subsided a bit and the shackles of the lockdown were also loosened but the unclaimed dead bodies lying in the morgues became a big problem. That’s why Mr Mamdani’s team is now busy in easing the burden of Mumbai Police.
“We talked with Mumbai Police’s Joint CP Law and Order Vishwas Nangare Patil and the data police had was humongous, to whom we gave a letter saying Mamdani Health and Charitable Trust with their team will fully cooperate with the Mumbai Police to take care of unclaimed dead bodies. Since then, we continuously cremate the unclaimed dead bodies according to their customs,” he said.