Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Catholic priest in Delhi advocates cremation for Christians

The lack of space for Christian and Muslim graveyards has been a growing concern in Delhi and other Indian cities

Catholic priest in Delhi advocates cremation for Christians

Christian cemetery in New Delhi. (ucanews.com photo) 

September 7, 2017

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)


An acute lack of space has forced Christian cemeteries in New Delhi to reuse graves after five years, with a Catholic priest advocating that Christians opt for cremation.

The Indian Christian Cemetery Committee that manages two cemeteries for various Christian denominations in New Delhi, announced that from Sept. 1 burial plots to families of the deceased will be given only for five years.

Reverend Samson R. Nath, the committee chairman said this was because "very soon we will have no space to bury our dead."

He said requests to the Delhi government for more land for use as cemeteries have not been successful.

"Asking people to opt for cremation will be the last resort when we will have no other choice. It is a very sensitive issue," said Reverend Nath, a Methodist.  

The lack of space for Christian and Muslim graveyards has been a growing concern in Delhi and other Indian cities, the Delhi high court in July observed.

As the population increased, the death rate also increased but cemetery land remained the same

Father Savarimuthu Shankar, spokesman of Delhi Archdiocese, said the archdiocese is aware of the situation and has "been advocating for people to go for cremation as alternative."

"But we cannot force anyone because it is a very emotional and sensitive subject that needs to be handled very carefully," he said.

Father Shankar said that "it will take some time for the people to naturally opt for cremation."

Father Thomas D'Cunha, secretary of Indian Christian Cemetery Committee, said Catholics should be "ready to face the challenges as other metro cities too have the same problem." Father D'Cunha represents the Delhi Archdiocese in the committee.

Delhi has some 17 million people and Christians from all denominations together count for some 140,000 people, according to the 2011 Census report.   

UCAN needs your support to continue our independent journalism
Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Click here to donate now.

LATEST