Parsi reformists to send legal notice to BMC


November 21, 2006

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Dhun Baria and a group of Parsi reformists supporting her would soon send a legal notice to the BMC’s health department for carrying out shoddy inspection of the Tower of Silence in Malabar Hill and giving a clean chit by ruling out possibilities of health hazards.

“We have decided to send a legal notice to the BMC for carrying out such a substandard investigation without going inside the wells where the bodies are actually disposed”, said Berjis Desai, a well-known columnist from the community. “We are demanding a proper, thorough and detailed investigation once again by entering inside the wells, and if the BMC fails to respond to the same we will go ahead and file a writ petition”, added Desai, also a spokesman of Alternate Disposal Choice, a public charitable trust in the process of formation.

The officials from BMC’s health department surveyed the 65 acres area early this week and ruled out any possibilities of health hazards from the corpses lying inside the Tower of Silence. “It was like taking a calm walk in the midst of the beautiful nature with greenery all around. There was not even a hint of stench and no one could even guess that dead bodies are disposed here”, said BMC’s executive health officer Jairaj Thanekar.

While no one even from the Parsi community is allowed to enter the wells except the pall bearers who have been authorised to enter inside to dispose the body, the reformists think that the inspection carried out by the BMC is baseless if they did not survey the area which involves the controversy.

“Even people from the Parsi community are also not allowed to enter inside the wells, how could they allow us? However we have done a up to mark inspection and there is nothing to worry about,” added Thanekar.

However, few other Parsi reformists alleged that it is a well-planned game by the trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) to divert the issue from giving land for those who want an alternate disposal system for the burial.

“We have never talked about health hazards in our entire debate. All that we have been highlighting is that the bodies are lying in pathetic conditions due to lack of vultures and it is very insulting to keep the loved ones who are dead in such horrifying conditions,” said Dhun Baria, who has secretly clicked 110 pictures of the dead bodies lying in the tower of silence and made a CD of the same, raising the controversy by distributing them in the community.

“What have the BMC inspectors surveyed? Were they asked to survey the flowers and the scenic beauty of the Dongerwadi and file a report? Questioned Baria.

“We will stress on action against the BMC health officers for carrying out such a fake survey without actually visiting the core area”, she added.

When contacted BPP trustee, Dinshaw Mehta, told HT: “The BMC officials visited the spot following some anonymous complaints about health problems. On our part we made sure that they get to carry their survey and make appropriate reports.”

When asked about the allegations made by the reformists, Mehta said: “We are not interested in diverting the issue because we are very much sure that the Tower of Silence can be only used for the eco friendly method of disposing the dead bodies known as Dokhmenishin and not for anything else. The reformists demand of getting land for burial purposes will gain no results.”

Original article here.