Locals taking part in a peaceful protest rally in Namchi, Sikkim on Saturday

Locals claimed that the burial ground was already desecrated due to the dumping of excavated mud from the road widening work there

Gangtok: Protesting against the decision of the state government to use an Islamic burial ground as a truck stand, Muslims in Namchi kept their business establishment closed on Saturday.

Also, a peaceful protest rally was organised to the district administrative centre where they raised slogans seeking justice.

The said graveyard at 12th Mile on the Jorethang-Namchi stretch has been in use since the pre-merger days of Sikkim with India, said locals.

Faithfuls kept their business establishment closed in protest against the government’s decision to convert a burial ground into 

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Locals claimed that the burial ground was already desecrated due to the dumping of excavated mud from the road widening work there. On Friday, the site was marked out as a truck stand, leading the community to escalate their protest and shut down their shops.

“How can the administration deny our community the right to a decent burial? This has been the Muslim graveyard since almost 50 years, even before the time Sikkim was merged with India. Our ancestors have been burried here,” said Mohammed Salim Ansari, a local resident.

Another youth said, “I feel very sad to inform everyone that our administration at Namchi is playing with our religious faith and trying to take away our more than 50 years old graveyard… please help us to save our graveyard.”

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