Mumbai gunmen denied Muslim burial secretly interred in January
Remember the issue of what to do with the corpses of the nine attackers killed during the November 2008 siege of the Taj Mahal Hotel and other targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people? The dead attackers were all presumed to be Pakistani Muslims, like the sole survivor, but local Indian Muslim leaders refused to let them be buried in their cemeteries. Islamabad ignored calls to take the bodies back. So they were left in morgue refrigerators in Mumbai, presumably until the issue was finally settled.
FaithWorld was deluged with comments after we asked if the bodies should be cremated and the ashes spread at sea. A surprising number of them suggested the bodies should be desecrated, thrown to the dogs or dumped at the Pakistani-Indian border. The discussion tapered off and the issue seemed to have been forgotten.
The only problem remaining was that those bodies had to be kept refrigerated ad infinitum. Something had to give. Well, the Maharashtra state government finally put an end to this stalemate. As Rina Chandran in our Mumbai bureau wrote: “The badly decomposed bodies had been lying in the mortuary of a hospital in Mumbai after Muslim clerics in the city refused to let them be buried on their grounds. Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil told the state assembly on Tuesday the bodies were buried secretly in January.”
The trial of Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving suspect, ended last week in Mumbai with a verdict scheduled to be announced on May 3.
There were lots of hot button issues in this one — Indian-Pakistani relations, how to treat the dead attackers, giving the dead a proper Muslim funeral, just to name a few — but the angle the local media seemed to highlight most was something nobody thought of at the time. Most of them — see the Times of India, the Indian Express or the Hindustan Times — seemed surprised that the government and police could keep the burial secret for so long!