British Hindu Vows Fight for Open-Air Cremation

May 10, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Times of India

Davinder Kumar Ghai, a devout British Hindu whose plea to be cremated in the open was turned down by Britain's high court, has vowed to continue his fight, saying the final rites of Hindus "must be done with dignity".

The high court on Friday ruled that open-air funeral pyres are illegal in Britain.

"It looks like a conspiracy that the judgement is given when I am in India for medical treatment. But I will not give up. I will ensure that Hindus are given a good death that is fundamental to their beliefs," Ghai, 70, said.

"I don't want Hindus to be burnt in a crematorium at the Thames or at a football field. The final rites of Hindus must be done with dignity. They cannot be bundled in a box," said Ghai, who is also the founder of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society (AAFS).

In his ruling, Justice Ross Cranston said The Cremation Act 1902 and its attendant regulations were clear in their effect: the burning of human remains, other than in a crematorium, is a criminal offence.

However, Justice Cranston gave Ghai permission to appeal against the ruling.

"I will take the case to the Court of Appeal and also to the European Court of Human Rights. This is a fight to the end," said Ghai, who heads back to Newcastle late Saturday after a month-long stay in India.