UK Hindus Demand Traditional Pyres

IANS, Jan. 11, 2006

LONDON: The Anglo-Asian Friendship Society based in Gosforth, London plans to petition the Newcastle City Council and the European Court of Human Rights to ensure that dead bodies of Hindus and Sikhs are cremated on traditional funeral pyres instead of in electric crematoriums.

Britain has a large minority of Hindus and Sikhs, but arrangements for the deceased within the communities are different from what is ordained by the scriptures. There are instances of families taking the bodies to India for cremation according to proper rituals. Davender Ghai, president of the Society, told the media:

“Many Hindus and Sikhs in England object to mechanic gas-fuelled cremation but, without any alternative, reluctantly comply. Now our legal team is preparing a case under the 1998 Human Rights Act and may plead directly to the European Court of Human Rights.”

But, British authorities have allowed the use of certain rivers where the ashes of the dead may be scattered. The Soar, the Thames and the Wye are such rivers designated as the ‘Ganges’.

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