Nowhere to die: Faridpur sex worker denied proper funeral
DOT Desk: Sex workers in the C and B Ghat Brothel in the Faridpur township’s Decreer Char Union are not allowed to have Islamic funerals after their death, reports Dhaka Tribune.
In the latest such incident, locals refused to perform and even organise the funeral of 55-year-old Marjina Begum of the brothel after she died of jaundice early on Wednesday morning.
Even her neighbours did not bathe her -– a mandatory practice in the last rites as per Islamic theology. A local imam refused to lead her funeral prayers. However, Shapla Mohila Sangstha, a non-government organization (NGO) working for brothels, stepped forward for her funeral.
It had her bathed and then buried at a local crematorium in Faridpur municipality after the deceased’s funeral prayers around 4pm.
Chanchala Mandal, executive director of the NGO, said as long as the sex workers entertain their clients, they are high in demand. “But when they’re dead, nobody comes to see them. Performing their funerals and even their burials in a proper manner become uncertain,” she said. “The authorities of all local graveyards don’t allow their burial. In order to avoid this, the identity of the deceased is faked at times. But that doesn’t work when their real identity gets revealed,” the NGO director said.
In the Daulatdia brothel of Tajbari, one of the world’s largest sex slums, the burial and proper funeral of sex workers are now permitted with the assistance of the local administration, according to Chanchala.
“However, it is not the same here. It feels as if there is nowhere for the sex workers to die in Faridpur,” said a disappointed Chanchala, adding that repeated efforts to earn permission from the administration had failed.
The bodies of the sex workers can only be buried in the Ambikapur cremation ground. Local resident Haider Khan said people are not even allowed to carry the bodies on khatiya (an especially-modified stretcher to carry corpses).