Muslim Undertaker for Kashmir’s Hindus

February 18, 2008

Author: Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Source: Daily News & Analysis

Under the majestic chinar in a cremation ground, Mohammad Yasin Dar, 55, has lit a bonfire to stay warm on a nippy February morning. He has spent a larger part of his days at the place for 10 years.

A devout Muslim, he has embarked on an unusual mission—to perform last rites of the dead of Kashmir’s minuscule Hindu population.

“Earlier, it was a pathetic situation here. There was no one to cremate bodies of Hindus as everyone was afraid. Cops would ferry the dead in dingy vans and lit the pyre in a callous manner,” said Dar.

After Kashmiri pandits migrated from the valley in 1990, there was no one to take care of the dead of those who stayed back. Official figures reveal 34,878 Kashmiri pandit families are registered as migrants in Jammu.