Dead Hindus finally find a place in Pakistan

Posted on August 9, 2010

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The body of Radha, 62, who died in Lahore in June 2006, had to be kept in a mortuary for five days due to the absence of a cremation ground for Hindus in Pakistan. She was laid to rest in the Miani Sahib’s graveyard for the Muslims as a last resort. The case generated a hue and cry in Pakistan over the lack of cremation grounds, which would allow Hindus to conduct the last rites of their loved ones as per religion.

The Pakistani government has now approved a plan to set up a cremation ground, sprawling over 36 kanals of land, for the Hindus near the Babu Sabu Chowk, close to the Ravi river.The land has been divided into two — for Sikhs and Hindus.

“There are walls on all four sides. It has toilets, a water tank and a water pumping motor,” Munawar Chand, general secretary of the NGO Pakistan Balmik Sabha, said. “My mother was cremated there last year. We are thankful to the Pakistan government to have accepted our demands at last.”

Dr Ram Chand said the availability of a cremation ground for Hindus was essential. “Though they are a minority community here, cremation rituals are part of their religious beliefs. Our leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah had assured every person who chose to live in Pakistan that they shall be free to practice their religion,” he said.

Since Independence, Hindu welfare communities like the Pakistan Balmik Sabha and the Hindu Balmik Sudhar Sabha had begun efforts to raise funds for a cremation ground for the community in Lahore.They succeeded in 1976 when the Evacuee Property Trust allotted an area on Bund Road. But the property turned out to be disputed.

Published: Monday, Aug 9, 2010, 2:00 IST
By Amir Mir | Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: DNA

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Posted in: Pakistan