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Woman awaits burial 2 weeks after death amid row

Kollam (Kerala), May 28 (IANS) A controversy over maintenance of the cemetery near here has led to the delay in the funeral of a 75-year-old woman who died of old age complications on May 14.

Some locals are demanding proper maintenance of the cemetery, built in 1999, claiming that seepages from it were polluting nearby wells and streams. They cite a Kerala High Court order that said the cemetery should be used only after proper modernisation.

The High Court in its recent order said the funeral should take place after the side walls of the grave where Annamma’s body would be laid to rest were freshly concreted.

Speaking to IANS, A. Kovoor Kunjumon, MLA, said after several round of talks, the issue was nearing a resolution.

“I have been coordinating with the police, the parish priest and the local engineer. Work has started at the cemetery. Once the engineer certifies the work, the funeral will take place,” said Kunjumon.

There was tension last week when a group of people threatened to commit suicide if the body was interned here, the legislator added.

Annamma’s daughter Aleyamma told IANS: “It’s sad that this misery has befallen on my mother who passed away two weeks ago. We still don’t know when the funeral will take place.”

John C. Chacko, parish vicar of both the Churches, has been caught between the protesters and the court orders.

“It’s been tough. Finally, the work on the grave of Annamma has begun… At the moment we don’t know when the funeral will take place.”

Annamma’s terrestrial remains remain at the mortuary of a state-run hospital near here, waiting for its last journey.

–IANS

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