Meerut: When Ramesh Mathur, 68, a temple priest, passed away on Tuesday afternoon, his shattered family needed four shoulders to take his body to crematorium. They got many.

Ramesh’s body, covered in saffron marigold flowers and lifted by men in white skull caps, sailed past several deserted localities attracting curious glares from windows. Some even clicked photos and recorded videos, which were shared widely on social media platforms as a proof of social harmony. Ramesh lived with his elderly wife and a son in Meerut’s Shahpir Gate, a Muslim dominated locality.

“My father had a tumour in his food pipe. The treatment was going on for long. But, suddenly on Tuesday afternoon, he passed away leaving us distraught. My elder brother, who was in Delhi, could not reach home on time as there was some difficulty in arranging the pass. Relatives, too, could not come due to lockdown. 

This is when the neighbours came out for our help and took the funeral for last rites to crematorium,” said Chandar Mauli Mathur, the younger son. The elder son arrived home from Delhi on Wednesday. 

The Mathur family has been living in the area for the last 80 years now. “All the Muslim people in our colony are just like our brothers,” says Chandar. The family lives in a ‘dharamsala’ in Shahpir Gate area, where Ramesh worked as a priest for a temple inside.

When contacted, Mohammad Mobin, councillor of Shahpir Gate area, said, “These are the times when we should stand by each other against all odds and show humanity.