Covid Permission By High Priests Rescinded For 4-Day Obsequies

With the Banaji Dakhma now operational for the exclusive use of Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians who have succumbed to COVID-19, thereby permitting Dokhmenishini to COVID victims in accordance with the order passed by the Supreme Court of India, the High Priests of our community – namely Dastur (Dr.) Firoze M. Kotwal (High Priest H.B. Wadia Atash Bahram, Mumbai); Dastur (Dr.) Jamasp Kaikhusroo Dastur JamaspAsa (High Priest Anjuman Atash Bahram, Mumbai); Dastur Khurshed Kaikobad Dastoor (High Priest, Iranshah, Udvada); Dastur Keki Cavasji Ravji Meherjirana (High Priest, Bhagarsath Anjuman, Navsari); and Dastur Cyrus Noshirwan Dastur (High Priest of D.N. Modi Atash Bahram, Surat) – have now rescinded the four-day obsequies to be performed by our priests for Covid victims who were being cremated.

In a communique sent by the High Priests to the BPP, praising the new Board of Trustees for persuading the authorities to permit Dokhmenishini to COVID victims, they have written, “It is only due to the unprecedented Covid Pandemic that, on humanitarian grounds, we, the High Priests of India, relented and allowed the four days of obsequies to be performed by our priests for Covid victims who were cremated against their long-standing religious beliefs. Unfortunately, this was enforced upon the community due to the Government of India orders prohibiting all forms of disposal of Covid victims, except bycremationduring the pandemic. As the Banaji dakhmahas been prepared for the exclusive use of our COVID victims, and we have been given relief by the Supreme Court, there is now no need for a Zoroastrian corpse to be consigned as per government diktat to the crematorium. In view of the above, we withdraw our earlier permission for the four days of prayers to be performed for Covid victims. for those who continue to choose to be consigned to the crematorium. As High Priests, it is our duty to reinforce and re-establish our long-held religious views that the four days of obsequies should not be performed by our dedicated priests in our religious places of worship when a Parsi Irani Zarthoshty choses voluntarily to take the cremation route, where the mode of Dokhmenishini through khurshēdnigērishn is available and practiced as per the tenets of our religion.”

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