Rajkot’s Century-Old Parsi Graveyard Vandalised

As per media reports, over the past month, the 100-year-old Parsi graveyard in Rajkot, is in need of urgent protection, with at least seven of twenty-five graves being dug open by anti-social elements who want to encroach upon the sprawling 7,741 sq. m land. Earlier in the week, four persons were arrested for trying to encroach upon the graveyard by resorting to vandalism and were arrested under IPC sections for hurting religious sentiments and defiling the place of worship. They were, however, granted bail.

The land was gifted to Rajkot Zarthosti Anjuman Trust (RZAT) by the British government to build the graveyard. “Since May 26, 2019, the goons have dug open seven graves. They also hacked down a 100-year-old tree on the land. We also shot off a letter the municipal commissioner seeking his intervention,” said Khushman Tamboli, Trustee Secretary, RZAT, as per media reports. With just fifteen Parsis residing in Rajkot, the Trust alleges that the goons are taking advantage of the minuscule numbers. Tamboli has also allegedly been threatened by the encroachers.

Sometime during the 1970s, the RZAT gave a portion of land to a couple of security guards who built eight rooms to live with families there. A dispute arose in the eighties when the Trust asked the families to vacate the land, which led to a legal battle that is still ongoing. RZAT members alleged that the miscreants piled garbage and trees on the graves there.

Pradhumannagar police inspector B M Kataria has said, “We arrested the four accused on Thursday and released them on bail. The Trust has to appoint new trustees to take legal action as per the law. Those living on the graveyard land claim that the land belongs to them, so we have also asked them to produce the relevant documents.”

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